Microsoft cracks into top five PC makers in the U.S., says Gartner report

Gartner and IDC, two prominent market research firms, are out with their latest quarterly reports covering total PC shipments worldwide, and although the total market is stagnant, there's some good news for Microsoft sprinkled in. According to Gartner's report, Microsoft has managed to make it into the top five PC vendors in the U.S., falling behind HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Apple in the first through fourth spots, respectively.

Zooming out to the larger picture, Microsoft is still behind the majority of major PC makers worldwide. In both the IDC and Gartner reports, Lenovo, HP, and Dell took the top three spots in the third quarter. The two firms differ on the fourth and fifth spots, with IDC reporting that Acer topped Apple, and Gartner reporting the opposite.

The two firms also differ in regards to overall PC shipments. While Gartner claims that worldwide shipments were up a measly 0.1 percent for the quarter, IDC notes that it saw a decline of roughly 0.9 percent year-over-year. As with the second quarter results from earlier this year, this difference comes down to the types of devices both research firms count as PC shipments. Gartner's data includes Windows desktops, notebooks, and tablets, but not Chromebooks. IDC, on the other hand, counts Windows desktops, laptops, and Chromebooks, while excluding Windows tablets and detachables.

These third quarter results follow a sterling second quarter that saw the overall PC market achieve its first year-over-year growth since 2012. Things appear to have leveled off since, but the results show signs of a slow turnaround following a steady pattern of decline over the past several years.

As for Microsoft, it's unlikely we'll see the company crack past its current position anytime soon; the companies number of shipments for the quarter were still dwarfed by Apple, Lenovo, Dell, and HP. Still, it's a solid sign of positive consumer interest that comes just a week after Microsoft announced its latest slate of devices, including the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, and Surface Studio 2.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl