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Lenovo is King of the PC Market, Says Gartner; HP Says No

It's a comical tug of war when it comes to who's the current leader of the PC market. Gartner says it's Lenovo Group Ltd. IDC Worldwide says it's still the long-running champ Hewlett-Packard. The latter company even issued a statement, backing up IDC's report, claiming it's still the #1 PC maker.

Still, both reports point to a 73-year-old company struggling against rivals like Lenovo and Dell while a new CEO brings it into the new era of computing. The company has spun off its webOS operating system into an open platform, and just recently introduced new products based on Microsoft's upcoming touch-based OS, Windows 8. It's still trying to figure out how to attack the smartphone market.

In terms of shipments worldwide, Gartner said that Lenovo had grown its market share of the PC sector to 15.7-percent by shipping an estimated 13.77 million units during 3Q12, up nearly 10-percent from the same quarter last year. Lenovo currently has a market value of $8.2 billion.

"We are establishing even deeper roots in each major market around the world," Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yuanqing Yang stated. "In addition to localized sales and distribution teams in major markets, we are establishing an even stronger manufacturing footprint."

As for HP, Gartner said that the company's global share of the PC sector was 15.5-percent after shipping 13.55 million units, down 16.4-percent from the same quarter in 2011. The report stated that this was the first time HP had not been in the #1 position since 2006.

Naturally HP responded to the Gartner report. "While there are a variety of PC share reports in the market, some don’t measure the market in its entirety. The IDC analysis includes the very important workstation segment and therefore is more comprehensive. In that IDC report, HP occupies the No. 1 position in PCs."

As indicated, IDC's report contradicts Gartner's findings, but only marginally. HP's share of the PC sector in 3Q12 was 15.9-percent due to 13,946 units shipped, a 16.4-percent drop in growth from the same quarter in 2011. Lenovo is listed as the #2 manufacturer in the IDC report, with a market share of 15.7-percent due to a shipment of 13,824 units, up 10.2-percent from 3Q11.

"HP saw shipments contract more than 16-percent from a year ago and narrowly held on to the top vendor spot. Distractions caused by its reorganization, challenges in integrating its enterprise acquisitions, and an unclear strategy to regain its course remain key obstacles," IDG reports.

Despite a slowing growth in Asia, Lenovo continued to register the highest yearly growth among all top vendors, the report said. Dell dropped into third place in 3Q12, claiming only 10.8-percent of the market with 9,499 units sold. Acer was fourth with a 9.6-percent market share, and Asus claimed the fifth position with 7.3-percent of the market.

"PCs are going through a severe slump," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC's Worldwide PC Tracker. "A weak global economy as well as questions about PC market saturation and delayed replacement cycles are certainly a factor, but the hard question of what is the 'it' product for PCs remain unanswered."

Reuters reports that HP shares finally closed 1.32-percent lower at $14.18 on Wednesday. At one point, shares dropped to $14.02, its lowest since October 2002, before the end of the day.