Apple’s notebook market share continues to grow at a remarkable rate – outpacing competitors across the industry – and the company seems set to maintain its success on news that Dell and HP have elected to slash their laptop research and development budgets.

DigiTimes has the story, reporting, "Notebook research and development personnel working at Dell and HP are assigned mainly to test the performance and reliability of new parts and components. This work overlaps that performed by R&D staff at ODM makers and so is an area vendors can afford to cut back on without impacting new product development, the sources noted," Wu and Shen report.

This news also means both Dell and HP (in common with most in the industry, bar Apple) are happy to pass on much of the development of new product across to their OEM manufacturers. Apple, converseley, likes to stamp its products with the slogan "designed in Cupertino". That’s possibly why it continues to innovate while other imitate, or fail to imitate. And there’s going to be more of the same in future.

Despite a down market, Apple’s share of the laptop sector is increasing. In the United States Apple’s share grew by 60 per cent, year over year, rising from 6.6 per cent to 10.6 per cent in the second quarter of this year. 

Apple is solidly in fourth place, behind Dell (21.9%), HP (21.4%) and Acer (14.4%, including its recently acquired Gateway and Packard-Bell brands).

During this period, Apple overtook Toshiba for the No. 4 position. In 2Q 2007, Toshiba had 11.4% of notebook shipments; in 2Q 2008, that fell to 9.0%.

"With the planned cuts, Dell and HP will no longer overwhelmingly control the procurement of parts and components needed for the production of their notebooks and instead will delegate purchasing power to manufacturers allowing the contract makers to purchase needed parts from the suppliers they chose," DigiTimes explains.

Apple is widely expected to imminently introduce a new generation of notebook Mac – perhaps they’ll look like this? Whatever the situation, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has frequently said his company’s strategy when facing economic gloom is to invest heavily in new technology research in order to be ready to innovate itself out of recession, just as the company did at the turn of the current century following the Y2K blip and dotcom bust.

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