HP grabbed the number one position in the global PC market during the third quarter of 2006. The company beat previous market leader Dell to the top position, reports from Gartner and IDC show.

It is the first time since late 2003 that HP has been the market leader. According to Gartner , HP sold 9.6 million machines, which works out to 16.3 per cent of global sales. Dell sold 9.5 million, giving it 16.1 per cent of sales.

Gartner and IDC disagree somewhat when it comes to numbers showing how the PC market is growing.

IDC claims that the number of PCs sold during the third quarter increased by 7.9 per cent to 57 million, which is a slower market performance than the 9.8 per cent growth rate of the second quarter of this year. Gartner's prognosis shows that sales went up by 6.7 per cent to 59 million units.

Lenovo is in third place according to both IDC and Gartner - with 7.8 and 7.5 per cent of the market respectively. Both analysts state that its growth was about 10 per cent.

Acer took the fourth position with 6 per cent, and Toshiba fifth with 4.2 per cent.

Sales figures outside the US grew by 11 per cent. In the US however, Dell is still in first place with close to a third of the market (32.1 per cent), ahead of HP with 22 per cent - according to IDC - and 23 per cent according to Gartner. Gateway is third, with 6.4 per cent of sales.