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Mixed Markets for Worldwide PC Shipments

Worldwide PC shipments struggled to meet expectations in the third quarter of 2008 (3Q08), according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Worldwide shipments were up 15.8 percent year over year, which was slightly less than projected.

Strong results in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) helped offset slow growth in other emerging regions, while the U.S. and Japan held steady. Here's the regional market detail.

U.S. -- As expected the third quarter was sluggish with performance further exacerbated by a flurry of bad economic news. Among the bright spots, however, were the emergence of low-cost notebooks and some marginal back-to-school activities that helped to keep the quarter in positive territory.

EMEA -- Continued buoyancy in the consumer notebook market supported another strong quarter in EMEA, as expected. Demand for mainstream notebooks remained robust in the back-to-school season while the proliferation of low-cost ultra portables and deals through Telco operators created additional momentum and boosted growth further.

The gloomy economic confidence in several countries showed no sign of slowing consumer demand overall and the market also benefited from sustained demand in the business space.

The financial crisis that hit Europe in October may lead to intensifying economic pressure over the coming months, but several factors inherent to the PC market across both Western Europe and CEMA regions will continue to act as growth drivers.

Japan -- Shipments slightly exceeded expectations in the quarter, given the current economic situation. Acer and Asus reaped sizable gains from its early entry into Ultra Low Cost Notebooks. Meanwhile, Lenovo suffered significant erosion due to a management shakeup which may be felt for some time to come.

Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) -- Ongoing economic pressures, which were being felt even before the recent financial crisis, kept the APeJ region slightly below forecasts this quarter. Still, growth remains in the double-digit range.

Even if global economic uncertainty further erodes the region in future quarters, domestic demand in key markets like China may keep the momentum going.

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