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Computers

HP still leads notebook pack, but Lenovo is on its heels

HP snagged 20.1 percent of the notebook market worldwide in 2014, according to research firm TrendForce, but Lenovo is catching up fast.

HP's notebooks, such this Omen, dominate global shipments. Sarah Tew

Hewlett-Packard remained atop the notebook market in 2014, according to new data from research firm TrendForce.

HP's notebooks accounted for 20.1 percent of all worldwide shipments in 2014, topping the company's 17.5 percent share in 2013. HP was followed by Lenovo, which captured 17.5 percent share, and Dell, which came in third place with 12.3 percent of the notebook market.

The notebook market has faced issues over the past few years including growing interest in tablets since the debut of Apple's iPad in 2010. Analysts have also pinned the shift on the economic pressures on corporate budgets and on Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system failing to convince customers to upgrade to new machines. However, notebook shipments rebounded over the past year.

HP and Lenovo have been battling for control of the PC market for the past few years. A key component in Lenovo's growth has been its appeal in developed markets, like the US. Lenovo has become a favorite of enterprise customers, who tend to buy a boatload of devices at a time. All of that helped Lenovo increase its year-over-year shipments by 14 percent, according to TrendForce

Lenovo's growth could come to haunt HP. According to TrendForce's predictions, Lenovo will begin to close in on HP's notebook business this year and nab 19 percent share by the end of 2015. Meanwhile, HP is predicted to own 19.9 percent of the notebook market by year's end after experiencing relatively flat shipment numbers year over year.

That theme will carry over to the entire industry. According to TrendForce, shipments worldwide were up 3.6 percent from 169.4 million units in 2013 to 175.5 million in 2014. However, only 175.6 million notebooks are expected to ship worldwide this year.

While the notebook market remains dominated by Windows-based machines, TrendForce says that both Apple's OS X and Google's Chrome OS are making their presence felt in the marketplace.

Apple's MacBook shipments rose 46.4 percent year over year in 2014, helping the company increase its market share from 6.6 percent in 2013 to 9.3 percent last year. According to TrendForce, Apple's decision to lower the price on some of the products in its MacBook line last year allowed it to "complete" its "takeover of the midrange and premium market." Apple is expected to increase its market share again this year to 10.1 percent, according to TrendForce.

Chromebooks running on Google's cloud-based Chrome OS operating system helped buoy an otherwise troubling year for Acer, TrendForce said. The company's Chromebook line, which includes the aptly named Acer Chromebook and the Acer C720, enjoyed "outstanding performance" in 2014, helping the company earn 10 percent of the worldwide notebook market. Acer did, however, slip from fourth place in 2013 to fifth place this year. The company is expected to hold on to its spot in 2015.