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PC market growing at healthy clip

Hewlett-Packard expands lead in overall market, while Acer and Lenovo continue to battle for the No. 3 spot.

Hewlett-Packard extended its lead in the worldwide PC market in the third quarter, increasing its shipments at more than twice the rate of the rest of the industry.

Shipments from all manufacturers increased to 68.1 million, or 13.8 percent, from the previous year, and 11.1 percent from the previous quarter, according to iSuppli, a market research company that tracks the PC industry. The third quarter is traditionally a good one for computer makers because of increased purchases during the back-to-school buying season.

HP's shipments gave it claim to 19.2 percent of the PC market, followed by Dell at 14.6, Lenovo at 8.1, Acer at 7.9, and Toshiba at 5.3. The numbers from iSuppli essentially mirror the reporting done by analyst firms IDC and Gartner last month.

Though HP now owns more than 19 percent of the market, and Dell accounted for 14.6 percent of all PC shipments, the gap between the two U.S. PC makers isn't actually that close. While HP delivered another solid quarter--it's the company's fifth straight as the global PC leader--Dell's growth continued to lag. Dell shipped 9.9 million PCs in the third quarter, up from 9.7 million in the same quarter a year ago. That's a mere 1.5 percent growth rate, far below the industry average of 13.8 percent and drastically behind that of HP (32 percent growth) and Taiwan's Acer (68.8 percent growth).

Acer continues to blow the rest of the industry out of the water, based largely on its ability to ramp up its notebook shipments. Though still in fourth place behind rival Lenovo, Acer has increased its market share from 5.4 percent a year ago to 7.9 percent today. iSuppli predicts that Acer will likely overtake Lenovo next quarter due to Acer's purchase of Gateway, and strength in the notebook market.