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HP tops Lenovo in lackluster PC market

HP was the top PC vendor for the fourth quarter of 2012, says IDC, though global PC sales fell by 6.4 percent from the prior year's quarter.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

HP is still the top dog in computer sales around the world, at least according to IDC. But those sales continue to plummet.

Released today, IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker pegged fourth-quarter global PC shipments at 89.8 million units, down 6.4 percent from the same quarter in 2011.

The drop was actually worse than IDC's forecast of 4.4 percent and marked the first time the industry saw a year-on-year decline during the holiday season. For 2012 as a whole, PC shipments were down by 3.2 percent.

Windows 8 officially launched at the end of October. But Microsoft's latest OS did little to rejuvenate sour PC sales in a market sidelined by hot demand for smartphones and tablets.

The results came as no surprise to IDC, which expected the second half of 2012 to be a rough period for PC vendors. Beyond the lure of smartphones and tablets, questions about the use of touch on new Windows devices versus tablets has slowed spending on PCs, according to IDC.

"Although Q3 was focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not help significantly the uptake of Windows 8 systems." IDC analyst Jay Chou said in a statement. "The PC ecosystem has thus far not adequately conveyed a fuller spectrum of the benefits of the latest Wintel platform. Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable, and efficient user experience."


Among the top five global vendors, HP shipped 15 million PCs last quarter, winning a market share of 16.7 percent. Though its market share rose, its PC shipments dropped slightly from a year ago.

Hot on the heels in second place was Lenovo with 14.1 million shipments and a market share of 15.7 percent. The Chinese PC vendor saw both its shipments and market share rise from a year ago. Dell took third place with 9.4 million shipments and a 10.6 percent market share, followed by Acer with 6.9 million shipments and Asus with 6.4 million.

Among the five top players, Lenovo and Asus took home the biggest gains in shipments and market share, while Dell and Acer saw the biggest losses.

Despite the failure so far of Windows 8 to breathe any life into the PC market, Chou holds out some hope that the market could start to bounce back this year.

"As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013," Chou said.