SAN FRANCISCO – On Wednesday, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported that sales of the company’s Mac personal computers fell by 11 percent compared to sales in the third quarter of last year. According to IDC, Apple was the only company out of the top five personal computer vendors in the U.S. to post a decline in shipments. That group includes, Lenovo (HK:992), Toshiba (TOKYO:6502), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL).
IDC analyst Loren Loverde said that PC vendors appeared to get a lift from stronger than expected demand, and this offset the overall weakness of the PC market. In an interview with CBS Marketwatch, Loverde added that ‘Apple is a bit more focused on consumer and portable, and this quarter more of the growth was in commercial, so [it had] lower exposure to the segments that performed better this quarter’.
Globally PC shipments were down 8 percent in the third quarter, and this was better than the 10 percent fall that IDC was expecting. Lenovo, the top PC provider saw sales grow by 2% while HP and Dell each recorded marginal growth. However, the news was nothing to sing about as the overall trend for PC vendors is not bright, and it is expected that the market in the U.S. will contact by 25 percent of more by 2015.
The results are even worse in Asia, were the proliferation of inexpensive smartphones running Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) android software had erased a market before it even had a chance to emerge as many consumers are choosing smartphones over computers. This has been particularly tough on two Taiwanese vendors, Acer (TW:2353) and Asus (TW:2357) as each company saw their PC sales fall by more than 34 percent in the third quarter.
Ultimately, the market is shifting away from computers towards smartphones, tablets, and internet enabled appliances (such as televisions) as this happens PC vendors have seen their market erode with no real end in sight. For Dell, their solution has been to focus on enterprise solutions; however, it is too early to know if this strategy will succeed. While HP has largely floundered in their attempts to prepare the company for the post-personal computer world, Apple would appear to be well positioned, in the near-term, given the popularity of the iPhone and iPad. However, Google and potentially a re-energized Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) could be best positioned as both companies are focusing on creating platforms that span enterprise and consumer use.