While so-called "white-box PC" vendors suffered in the economic downturn with the rest of the computer industry over the last three years, they also benefited from better prices and marketing support from component vendors hungry for their business, International Data Corp. said.
In addition, consolidation in the PC manufacturing industry, demonstrated by last year's $19 billion merger of Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer, has pushed component makers further toward non-branded manufacturers to dilute some of the market clout of the large PC makers left standing.
"The component guys don't like to see consolidation at the top," IDC analyst David Daoud said. "They rather see a much more vibrant market for their products, instead of counting on a shrinking number of top-tier players."
Chipmaker Intel Corp., for example, started a couple of years ago programs to encourage non-branded manufacturers to use its products and display the "Intel inside" logo. Such developments have boosted buyer confidence by building the perception that white-box makers use the same components as bigger vendors.