Microsoft was the fifth-biggest PC maker in the US in the third quarter of this year, according to industry advisory firm Gartner.
The top spot in the US belongs to HP, with about 4.5 million machines sold, ahead of Dell at 3.8 million, Lenovo at 2.3 million, and Apple at 2 million. The gap between fourth and fifth is pretty big—Microsoft sold only 0.6 million Surface devices last quarter—but it suggests that Microsoft's PC division is heading in the right direction, with sales 1.9 percent higher than the same quarter last year. The company pushed down to sixth place was Acer.
The current quarter should be better still; the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface Studio have all been given hardware refreshes which, when combined with the always-busy holiday season, should stimulate higher sales.
Globally, both Gartner and IDC reported a flat PC market (up 0.1 percent in Gartner's view, down 0.9 percent in IDC's), after the previous quarter's modest growth. Both companies agree that the top three slots are held by Lenovo, HP, and Dell, in that order, but they subsequently disagree. IDC has Acer in fourth, slightly ahead of Apple in fifth; Gartner has Apple fourth, well ahead of Acer in fifth and Asus in sixth.
The two companies have differing views on what a "PC" is. IDC covers notebooks (including Chromebooks) as well as desktops and workstations. But it excludes tablets, including those such as the Surface Pro. Gartner includes desktops and workstations, notebooks, and "premium" ultramobile devices (so it does include the Surface Pro but not the iPad). But unlike IDC, it excludes Chromebooks.