Worldwide PC shipments passed the 50 million mark in the third quarter of 2005 as the number of units surged 17% over the same period a year ago. According to IT analysts at Gartner, 55 million PCs left factories worldwide; while its rival, IDC, put the number at slightly under 53 million. In terms of PC shipments, Dell continued to lead the industry, but for the first time in seven years, its worldwide shipment growth rate was equal to the worldwide average, rather than significantly above it. The analysts suggested these results reflected Dell's focus on increasing profitability rather than market share.
But, overall, the industry is facing mammoth upheaval as highly standardised products, low margins and surplus supply push the market towards a "race to the bottom" in terms of pricing, says Gartner.
Moreover, the introduction of disruptive technologies – such as PC virtualisation which decouples PC hardware from software – will force PC vendors into a tussle for control of platform development between key component suppliers, unless a broadly supported standard is established.