Personal computer sales globally are up sharply in the first quarter. Research firm Gartner said worldwide PC shipments rose by 27.4 percent in the first quarter to 84.3 million units compared to the same quarter from a year ago. In the U.S., PC shipments grew by 20.2 percent.

From the New York Times:

In a sign of the vibrancy of the market, companies like Google and Nokia -- not traditionally makers of PCs -- have jumped into the competition; Google is developing an operating system to compete with Microsoft's Windows, and Nokia now sells a laptop. Meanwhile, the early indicators for this year show PC sales surging. On Tuesday, Intel, the world's largest PC chip maker, reported the highest first-quarter sales, $10.3 billion, and profit, $2.4 billion, in its history. Wall Street analysts said on Wednesday that the PC market could grow as much as 25 percent this year.

Hewlett-Packard remains the worldwide PC sales leader. But HP (along with Dell) has lost some ground to Asian manufacturers.

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