HP, Lenovo battle for top spot in PC market

IDC has Gartner holding onto its top position, but Gartner calls the win for Lenovo

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The company has the ability to put out inventive and interesting products. Moorhead pointed to the fact that HP just launched some unique tablets in the market, which should give them a little lift in the Windows hybrid and convertible market.

How hard, though, do they want to keep pushing?

"They would need to fundamentally change their business model in emerging regions and use HP's massive R&D arm to develop relevant differentiation," Moorhead said. "Let's not forget that HP is the most profitable PC company out there. It's pretty easy to buy market share, but it's a lot more difficult to profitably grow it."

While today's reports weren't great news for HP, it's also a tough one for the entire PC market.

According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments sank 8.3% year over year, with a total of 87.5 million units shipped in the third quarter of 2012. IDC shows the global market dropping 8.6%.

The PC industry has been battered for several quarters now by a sluggish economy, as well as consumers and enterprises putting off replacing their desktops and laptops in lieu of buying new tablets and smartphones.

Now Gartner said the upcoming release of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system also seems to have been a problem for third-quarter PC sales.

"Retailers were conservative in placing orders as they responded to weak back-to-school sales," Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "By the end of September, retailers were focused on clearing out inventory in advance of the Windows 8 launch later this month."

PC sales chart
Gartner and IDC released figures for worldwide PC shipments on Wednesday. (Graphic: IDG News Service)

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at  @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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