Gartner: Apple Sixth-Largest PC Seller

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Apple was the sixth-largest desktop PC vendor worldwide in 2007, shipping just over 3 million computers, research firm Gartner said Friday. The numbers were unexpected, one analyst said.

“We were pretty surprised by the 2007 figures,” Alfonso Velso told Cult of Mac.  The 2007 sales figures were 26 percent higher than 2005 when Gartner had estimated Apple shipped 2.5 million desktop computers.Velso said the sales jump is due to Apple products, as well as some missteps by rivals.

“They are riding a crest of good products and design,” the analyst said.

Velso said Gartner had also received anecdotal evidence problems with Dell customer service also sent college students to Apple. 

However, Apple faces difficulty keeping up with other PC makers as companies increasingly turn to India, China and other emerging markets to balance lower sales elsewhere due to the economic slowdown. Gartner said just 1 percent of Apple sales come from emerging markets.

Both Dell and HP have experienced success selling low-cost computers to emerging markets as sales in North America, Europe and Japan either shrank or experienced slower growth.  Apple doesn’t play in the $400 market, the Gartner analyst said.

The research firm also hinted that Apple could be especially hit by the global economic slowdown. Because its sales are weighted toward the consumer rather than business,  sales for Apple could be volatile, according to the report.

Apple’s reliance on designing and manufacturing the hardware and software means the computer company spent $1.1 billion on designing and purchasing custom components.  Other PC makers spent far less — $32 million on design and $92 million on purchasing –œ because they dole out work to Asian companies.

Earlier this week,  research firm MetaFacts announced Apple was the fourth-largest seller of consumer notebook computers, with 8 percent of the U.S. market.

Flickr image courtesy: Capitan Giona 

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