Hewlett-Packard Co. is showing signs of recovery as it strengthened its position as the world`s largest maker of personal computers and gained back some of the business it had lost while weighing whether to dump its PC division.
HP`s stock jumped more than 7 percent Thursday, after research groups Gartner and IDC released their PC shipment estimates for the first three months of the year. HP was the best performer in the Dow Jones industrial average.
HP is in the midst of a turnaround effort under a new chief, former eBay Inc. CEO Meg Whitman. Her predecessor, Leo Apotheker, wanted to sell or spin off the PC business, a plan that contributed to his ouster in September after 11 months on the job. Whitman decided a month later to keep the unit, despite the growing competitive challenge the PC industry faces from smartphones and tablet computers.
The company lost market share during that period of uncertainty. With PCs increasingly commoditized, customers were free to choose a rival and avoid wondering whether HP would be around to offer product support in a few months.
According to IDC, HP`s worldwide market share dropped to 16 percent in the fourth quarter, after HP signaled in mid-August that it might shed the PC business. HP`s share had been nearly 18 percent earlier in the year.
IDC estimated late Wednesday that HP`s worldwide share in the first quarter of 2012 was back to 18 percent.
In the U.S., IDC said, HP`s first-quarter share was 28 percent, nearly back to what it had been last summer. In the holiday quarter, it had dropped to about 23 percent.
Analyst Brian G. Alexander at Raymond James said Thursday that the numbers suggest the fallout from HP`s indecision had eased. He also said they "add support to our view that HP is not a broken company."
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