Apple Gets Knocked Down A Peg

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), said to be preparing to launch a Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8-based tablet for business users later this year, has received a big boost of confidence. According to a new report, HP overtook Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the top seller of personal computing devices in the first quarter of the year.

Investing Insights: Are You Ready for Apple Mobile?>>

HP, which had only slipped behind Apple at the end of 2011, shipped out a total of 15.8 million personal computing units and edged out the latter by about 40,000 units, according to the latest report by Canalys, which includes tablets in its PC count. Most of Apple’s shipments, 11.8 million units of them, were made up by the iPad.

Apple had missed expectations with its tablet sales in the last quarter despite showing 151 percent growth. The third version of the iPad, released only toward the end of the quarter on March 16, is likely to see much bigger sales in the second quarter.

Lenovo was in the third spot, but its growth, at 50 percent, was better than the rest of the market. Acer and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) were also in the top five, but their shipments fell from a year ago.

The complete PC market saw a resurgence, with a 21 percent growth in shipments from 2011’s first quarter of 107 million units. Within the market, shipments of notebooks and desktop PCs rose by 11 percent and 8 percent, respectively, while those of netbook computers fell by 34 percent. Tablet shipments grew by over 200 percent and pretty much rescued the market.

“Most of the leading PC vendors have done a reasonable job of offsetting the declines in their netbook shipments over the past year with increased pad business,” Canalys analyst Tom Evans wrote in the report.