By Claire West

Although it finished the quarter very close to Lenovo, HP has given up the top PC vendor position for the first time since the third quarter of 2006 according to research firm Gartner.
HP is currently restructuring its device business, including PCs, tablets and printers. HP's main concern is achieving a good balance between market share gain and margin protection.

Dell was the No. 3 vendor in PC shipments worldwide in the third quarter of 2012. While Dell suffered a steeper shipment decline than the worldwide average, it was less impacted by the upcoming release of Windows 8 because of its strong focus in the professional market. Dell continues to gradually transform itself from a PC/device supplier to a solution provider.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 87.5 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a decline of 8.3 percent compared with the third quarter of 2011.

"A continuing slowdown in consumer PC shipments played a big part in the overall PC market decline," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "The third quarter was also a transitional quarter before Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system release, so shipments were less vigorous as vendors and their channel partners liquidated inventory."