IDC says Dell is back ahead of Acer, Gartner disagrees

After several quarters of playing third wheel in the global PC industry, Dell is back in the saddle—at least by IDC's count. The market research firm's latest numbers say Dell had 13% of global shipments in the second quarter, compared to 12.6% for Acer. Here's a table that puts the data in perspective:

Vendor Q2 2009 Q1 2010 Q2 2010
HP 19.8% 19.7% 18.1%
Dell 13.7% 13.3% 13.0%
Acer 12.7% 13.6% 12.6%
Lenovo 8.7% 8.8% 10.2%
Toshiba 5.3% 5.8% 5.3%

But hold up! According to rival research firm Gartner, Dell wasn't so lucky. Gartner's estimates peg Dell's second-quarter market share at 12.4%, compared to 13% for Acer and 17.4% for HP. Dell, it seems, has become the Schroedinger's cat of silver medalists.

Both Gartner and IDC agree on one thing, though: the PC industry as a whole saw strong double-digit growth over the last year (20.7% by Gartner's count and 22.4% by IDC's). In the United States alone, IDC says shipments climbed 12.6%, "confirming that the market continued to recover." Gartner recorded an even greater 16% increase.

What about vendor market shares in the U.S.? Gartner and IDC also agree there: Acer is but a distant third to Dell. Both research firms also put Apple in fourth place ahead of Toshiba.

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