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HP set to usurp Lenovo as top PC firm following government mixed fortunes

Beleaguered Hewlett-Packard may soon have something to cheer about; a new report suggests that the company is poised to overtake Lenovo as the world's biggest PC manufacturer.

HP, on the strength of winning some key government procurement bids for new laptops, will recapture its global PC market share in the third quarter of this year,according to DigiTimes.

The Taiwanese tech journal, citing unnamed industry sources, said HP "is expected to see notebook shipments in the third quarter of 2013 increase 15 to 20 percent [quarter over quarter] while Lenovo is expected to see a sequential drop of 7 to 9 percent."

A big driver of HP's purported gains is an order by the government of India's Uttar Pradesh state for 1.5 million HP laptops for schools, with a pending third-quarter order for 2 million more laptops by another Indian government buyer likely to go HP's way as well, DigiTimes reported.

Research firms Gartner and IDC both ranked Lenovo as the top maker of PCs in the world for the second quarter of 2013, with Gartner reporting that the company shipped 12.7 million units in the quarter for a 16.7 per cent share of the global PC market and IDC's numbers putting Lenovo's PC unit shipments at 12.6 million for the same 16.7 per cent market share.

HP, which topped Lenovo in global PC market share in the second quarter of 2012, saw its numbers drop to 12.4 million units shipped for a 16.3 per cent share of the market in the most recent period, per Gartner, while IDC also put HP's second-quarter unit shipment figures at 12.4 million but estimated its global PC market share at 16.4 per cent.

Should HP manage to increase its third-quarter laptop shipments by as much as DigiTimes suggest it will, it would obviously be a welcome boost for a company that has struggled to meet the challenges of the new era mobile computing and remains in restructuring mode under CEO Meg Whitman.

But in some ways, it's still difficult to perceive jockeying at the top of the troubled PC food chain as much more than the proverbial rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic. Gartner, IDC, and other industry researchers have consistently downgraded their PC shipment projections in recent quarters and few see the moribund market turning around any time soon.

Recent history shows why the outlook is so gloomy.

Gartner, for example put the year-over-year decline in global PC unit shipments for the second quarter of this year at 10.9 per cent, while IDC reported that the worldwide market for PCs was down 11.4 per cent compared with the same period in 2012.

Lenovo has suffered massive hits this week, as reports emerged alleging that governments all over the world have banned networks from using the firm's products, due to security worries.