Apple has emerged as the fourth-biggest PC manufacturer in the US, while HP has snatched he top position in global PC shipments from Dell.

That's the finding market researchers Gartner and IDC reported separately on Wednesday when they released their respective quarterly studies on the PC market.

With 975,000 Macs shipped in the US (according to Gartner), Apple became the fourth biggest name in the US market, just 38,000 CPUs behind third place maker, Gatway. Apple now holds 6.1 per cent of the US market, the analyst firm claims.

Figures from the analysts at IDC matched Gartner's, showing Apple in fourth place with 975,000 Mac sales, creating a 5.8 per cent market share.

"Apple had a very good quarter with shipments increasing more than 30 per cent in all regions except Japan," IDC said. "The growth is an excellent sign of the success of Apple's transition to Intel based systems."

HP's eclipse of Dell is the first time that firm has topped the list since Q4 2003, Gartner said. HP shipped 9.652 million units, or 16.3 per cent of global PC sales, while Dell shipped 9.541 million, or 16.1 per cent.

IDC estimates 9.831 million units for HP and 9.803 million units for Dell, both equivalent to a 17.2 per cent market share and a "statistical tie", the firm said in a statement.

"In the US market, the focus continues to be on the transition from desktops to notebooks, with notebook growth being the sole bright spot while desktop shipments continued to decline," said Bob O'Donnell, vice president, Clients and Displays at IDC.

On a global basis, the two market researchers calculated HP's growth, compared with last year's third quarter, at slightly over 15 per cent, and both put Dell's growth at 3.6 per cent.

In the US, Apple saw 32.3 per cent growth.

Analysis differed on the rate of growth worldwide for the entire market compared with last year's third quarter. IDC said shipments grew 7.9 per cent to about 57 million units, slower than the 9.8 per cent growth rate in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Gartner put the growth at 6.7 per cent, or about 59 million units.

On a global basis, both market researchers ranked Lenovo in third place, with IDC estimating its market share at 7.8 per cent and Gartner placing it at 7.5 per cent. Acer took fourth place in both studies with around 6 per cent of shipments. Toshiba finished in fifth place with around 4.2 per cent of shipments.

International shipments continued to expand at a roughly 11 per cent, year over year.