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Lenovo, HP Quibble Over Top Spot in Struggling PC Market

The third quarter numbers are in, and it's official: Lenovo is the new king of the worldwide PC market. No, wait! HP wants a recount. You see, these other official numbers have HP hanging on to its number one title by a hanging chad. Welcome to the wacky world of analyst shipment estimates.

Gartner's estimates show Lenovo overtaking HP for the pole position, with the two companies sitting at 15.7 and 15.5 percent of the market, respectively. However, HP told The Verge that IDC's newly released tally is more accurate, as it counts workstation sales -- something Gartner's total apparently lacks. IDC's figures have HP outselling Lenovo by around 100,000 units.

Either way you look at it, the third quarter was a bleak one overall for PCs. Both research firms report that the market contracted by over 8 percent by last year, with HP, Dell, Acer and "Others" all seeing double-digit declines in shipments. Asus and Lenovo were the lone bright spots; each shipped roughly ten percent more PCs than they did in the third quarter of last year.

HP's semantic arguments may hold water this go-round, but the company is all but certain to clearly cede the throne to Lenovo during the holiday season. Lenovo's place in the world has been steadily climbing for several quarters, while HP's been stumbling for just as long, and the former king's fall to earth is far from over; CEO Meg Whitman recently told analysts that 2013 will be a tough year for the company.