Apple has become one of the top five US computer makers by market share, outperforming industry growth by a factor of four.

New independently-researched figures by both IDC and Gartner confirm Apple's market gains in the third quarter, 2005.

They reveal that US PC shipments climbed 11 per cent to 17 million, with Dell seizing 33.2 per cent of the market.

It appears Apple is running up the inside lane. IDC reports it's the fifth place PC player in the US, with 737,000 units shipped. Apple's market share there climbed from 3.3 per cent to 4.3 per cent for an astonishing 44.6 per cent year-on-year growth.

Gartner is even more optimistic, reporting that Apple is now the fourth place PC maker with 744,000 units shipped for 4.2 per cent of the market.

Apple has a 2.3 percent market share worldwide, the analysts said.

Dell continues to lead pack

Spurred by low-cost and portable computers, global PC shipments increased over 17 percent in the third quarter, the analyst firms (which operate independently of each other) said.

Outside the US, European Union expansion, investments in general infrastructure and low prices kept the PC market humming along, while in Japan, new product launches appealed to buyers. In the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan, both business and home purchases of computers remained robust, IDC found.

PC giant Dell took 18 per cent of the market according to IDC and just under 17 per cent by Gartner's figures.

IDC figures show Dell with global shipments of nearly 9.5 million for the quarter, and with US shipments of 5.6 million. In percentage terms, those figures gave Dell 18 per cent market share globally and 33 per cent in the US, both of which were up slightly over the same period of last year. Year-on-year, Dell had 17.8 per cent growth internationally and 12.2 per cent growth in the US.

Gartner recorded 9.2 million shipments for Dell globally, for a market share of nearly 17 per cent, with US shipments of 5.5 million for a 30.7 per cent market share.

HP second-place ace

In second place, HP shipped nearly 8.5 million PCs globally for a 16 per cent market share, and 3.45 million US shipments for a 20.3 per cent share, according to IDC. HP's international year-on-year growth stood at 17.9 per cent and was 10.1 per cent in the US Gartner said.

Lenovo was third in global shipments with just over 4 million for a 7.7 per cent market share, according to IDC, and roughly the same shipment number with a 7.4 per cent market share by Gartner's count. The company was fourth on IDC's list for US shipments, with 757,000 units for 4.5 per cent of the market, and stood at fifth in the US with 751,000 shipments and 4.2 per cent of the market according to Gartner.

Gateway, Acer, Fujitsu

Gateway finished third in US shipments on both analyst companies' lists, with just over 1 million units and a 6.4 per cent market share, up 35 per cent over the third quarter of last year by IDC's estimation. Gartner said Gateway had a 6 per cent market share and shipments up 33 per cent.

Internationally, Acer took fourth place with nearly 2.5 million units for a 4.7 per cent market share, up 53.7 per cent year-on-year, according to IDC, and had 2.4 million shipments and 4.4 per cent of the market by Gartner's reckoning.

Fujitsu Siemens Computers filled in the fifth spot on both lists, just shy of 2 million shipments worldwide for a 3.8 per cent share and 15 per cent year-on-year growth according to IDC, and with just over 2.2 million shipments and 3.7 per cent market share according to Gartner.