Apple's iMac Tops PC Sales Charts in 4th Quarter

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The top-selling personal computer through retail and mail-order channels during the fourth quarter was the iMac from Apple Computer Inc., according to data released Thursday.


Sales of iMac computers, which feature a translucent, tinted casing that combines the console and monitor, totaled 6.2 percent of the units sold during the final three months of 1998, according to the December Retail Mail/Order Hardware Report from PC Data, Reston, VA. The report said the iMac, which was launched in mid-August, captured 7.2 percent of the dollar volume during the three-month period with an average price of $1,224.


PC Data analyst Stephen Baker said about two-thirds of iMac's sales were through mail order.


The success of the iMac also helped boost Cupertino, CA-based Apple's market share among PC makers to 9.6 percent in the fourth quarter, from 6.7 percent in the second quarter, the report said.


Houston-based Compaq, which launched a direct-sales initiative in November, captured the next three positions in the fourth-quarter rankings, with its Presario 5170, Presario 5150 and Presario 5050. The Hewlett-Packard 6355 was the No. 5 seller during the quarter.


During the month of December, the Compaq Presario 5170 ranked first in sales, followed by the Presario 5150,then the iMac. In fourth place was a newcomer to the PC race, a budget-priced desktop device called the etower from Freemont, CA-based emachines, followed by the Compaq 2266.


"Despite falling from the top spot in November to No. 3 in December, the iMac was the No. 1 selling PC since its mid-August introduction, capturing 6 percent of total unit sales during that period," said Baker.

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