The Cutting Edge: COMPUTING / TECHNOLOGY / INNOVATION : Apple Regains Its Spot as Nation’s No. 2 PC Maker : Computers: The firm says it is working to increase output. Compaq retains No. 1 position.

From Reuters

Apple Computer Inc., stung by supply problems that have restrained sales, nevertheless regained its spot as the nation’s second-largest personal computer company in the third quarter, according to a survey released Tuesday.

Compaq Computer Corp. held on to its No. 1 ranking in the personal computer market, according to figures released by Dataquest Inc., a San Jose-based market research firm.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple retook the No. 2 spot from International Business Machines Corp. as its shipments jumped 20.5% in the quarter to 1.28 million units.

Houston-based Compaq shipped about 1.5 million PCs in the three months ended Sept. 30, marking the seventh consecutive quarter it has led the market. A year ago, Compaq shipped 1.22 million units.


“Although Apple’s quarter was maligned by the press and financial analysts, the company’s market share bounced back from 7.4% in the second quarter to a 9% share in the third quarter,” said Kimball Brown, a Dataquest analyst and vice president.

Apple Chief Executive Michael Spindler on Monday said the computer maker is working to increase output.

“It’s not quite true that we don’t get any Macs out,” he told an industry conference, referring to the company’s Macintosh line. “We’re increasing the output per quarter. We’ve been growing continuously and working with our vendors to get more and more out.”

IBM’s shipments grew 13.2% in the quarter to 1.15 million units, Dataquest said.

The gains for Compaq, Apple, IBM and other manufacturers reflect ever increasing demand for PCs.

An explosion of interest in the Internet and on-line services, lower prices and the launch of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 95 software have whipped up strong demand for PCs this year.

Brown predicted that PC shipments, which grew 21% in the third quarter, are poised for another big jump in the current quarter.