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Apple Powers Past HP, Rules Global PC Market

Apple Inc overtook Hewlett-Packard Co as the world's largest vendor of personal computers in the fourth quarter, helped by booming demand for its iPads, research firm Canalys said on Monday.

In the fourth quarter, tablet demand helped drive the global PC market 16 per cent higher than a year ago to 120 million computers, Canalys said.

Excluding tablets, the market fell 0.4 per cent from a year ago, said Canalys, one of the first research firms to include tablets in PC forecasts. Other firms have said they will likely follow.

HP Director Babbio To Leave Board

Hewlett-Packard Co said on Monday long-time director Larry Babbio Jr. will step down, as the technology giant continues to restructure its much-criticized board.

Babbio, along with fellow directors Sari Baldauf and Dominique Senequier, will not stand for reelection at an upcoming shareholders' meeting on March 21, the company said in regulatory filings.

HP's board has found itself time and again on the firing line since its infamous wire-tapping incident in 2005, when a scandal involving eavesdropping on directors and journalists forced then-Chairwoman Patricia Dunn to resign the following year.

Babbio, a director since 2002, and Baldauf, a director since 2006, were part of a board that presided over the company during the so-called "pretexting" scandal.

The board has seen a major turnover in the past year with the addition of six new directors, including Chief Executive Meg Whitman and investor Ralph Whitworth, principal of Relational Investors.

Of the 13 directors re-elected to HP's board last March, 10 joined the board in 2009 or later.

Babbio, a former vice chairman and president of Verizon Communications, was previously a director of Compaq, which HP acquired in 2002. That decision, too, was mired in controversy as allegations of vote-buying surrounded Deutsche Bank's decision to support HP's acquisition.

Dissident board member Walter Hewlett then accused the rest of the board of buying Deutsche's support for the deal by tying it to future banking business.

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