HP overtakes Dell to become biggest PC maker

PC and printer maker Hewlett Packard (HP) has become the world's biggest PC maker by units shipped, overtaking rival and long-standing market leader Dell.

According to research released by analyst firm Gartner, in the third quarter of 2006, HP shipped 9.652m computers, giving it 16.3 per cent of the market. Dell came in second with 9.541m computers shipped, 16.1 per cent of the market. Lenovo came third with 7.5 per cent and Acer fourth with 5.9 per cent.

"HP continues to take better advantage of the faster growth segments such as the consumer market" said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest's Client Computing Markets Group. "Dell felt the effects of the weak sales in the US market."

The figures underline the significant change in the fortunes of HP. Despite its recent corporate espionage crisis the company's computer business has boomed under the stewardship of current chief executive Mark Hurd. In the second quarter of this year, Dell led with 16.6 per cent of the market while HP had 15.1 per cent.

"Two factors that contributed to the poor performance in the US market were continued weakness in the professional desktop PC market, and the carry-over effect from strong sales in the second quarter," said Kitagawa. "Strong sales to the home market, fuelled by solid back-to-school sales and mobile PCs could not offset the decline in other areas."

The European market grew 9.1 per cent in the third quarter of this year, with 18.5m units shipped.