Hewlett-Packard (HP) is maintaining its grip on the global PC market while Dell is doing even less well than before. That's according to new figures from analysts Gartner and IDC.

HP extended its lead over Dell after its share went up to 17.6 per cent during the first quarter of 2007. HP sold 11 million units, Gartner's figures showed.

During the same period Dell lost market share, now holding 13.9 per cent of the global PC market compared to 16.4 per cent during the same period last year. Dell's sales were down by 7.8 per cent, to 8.7 million units sold.

HP's increase year on year amounted to 28.7 per cent; during the first quarter of 2006 HP had a market share of 14.9 per cent and sold 8.6 million PCs, according to Gartner .

Figures from IDC also show that HP is gaining force at Dell's expense, but with slightly different numbers. IDC stated that HP's market share increased to 19.1 per cent from 16.5 per cent, while Dell went down to 15.2 per cent from 18.2 per cent.

In total, global PC sales were up by 8.9 per cent to 67 million units compared to the first quarter of 2006, Gartner said. IDC on the other hand said the increase was 10.9 per cent, with 58.9 million units sold. The discrepancy in numbers can be attributed to the two analyst firms having different definitions of what a PC is, and having different ways of measuring sales.

According to Gartner, Acer is the third largest PC seller with 6.8 per cent of the market. Lenovo (6.3 per cent) and Toshiba (4.1 per cent) were in fourth and fifth spots. IDC stated that Lenovo and Acer shared the third position - both with 6.7 per cent - ahead of Toshiba on 4.3 per cent.

Both analysts agree that Microsoft's newly launched Windows Vista operating system is likely to increase PC sales, but that so far Vista has had a very limited effect on the computing market.