Hewlett-Packard (HP) snatched the top position in global PC shipments from rival Dell by a slight margin in the third quarter.That\u2019s the finding market researchers Gartner and IDC reported separately Wednesday when they released their respective quarterly studies on the PC market. This is the first time HP has earned top honors since the fourth quarter of 2003, Gartner said. Gartner estimates that HP shipped 9.65 million units, or 16.3 percent of the total, while Dell shipped 9.54 million, or 16.1 percent.IDC called it closer, estimating 9.83 million units for HP and 9.8 million units for Dell, both equivalent to a 17.2 percent market share and a "statistical tie," the firm said in a statement. The two market researchers calculated HP\u2019s growth, compared with last year\u2019s third quarter, at slightly\u00a0more than\u00a015 percent, and both put Dell\u2019s growth at 3.6 percent.They differed on the rate of growth worldwide for the entire market compared with last year\u2019s third quarter. IDC said shipments grew 7.9 percent to about 57 million units, slower than the 9.8 percent growth rate in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Gartner put the growth at 6.7 percent, or about 59 million units.Both market researchers ranked Lenovo Group in third place, with IDC estimating its market share at 7.8 percent and Gartner placing it at 7.5 percent. Both firms said Lenovo\u2019s shipments grew at about 10 percent. Acer took fourth place in both studies with around 6 percent of shipments. IDC put Acer\u2019s growth at 34.3 percent, and Gartner estimated it at 33.4 percent. Finally, Toshiba finished in fifth place with about 4.2 percent of shipments, although IDC put its growth at 20.4 percent and Gartner estimated it at 30.5 percent.International shipments continued to expand at a roughly 11 percent year over year, but slow growth in the United States\u00a0pulled down overall results, IDC said. The market researchers differed slightly on the U.S. market, but both found shipments fell. IDC put the U.S. drop at less than 1 percent, while Gartner estimated it at 2 percent. IDC said Dell\u2019s share shrunk by 6.7 percent, while Gartner put the fall at just over 7 percent. Dell ranked first on both studies, with close to a third of all shipments. HP came in second, with market share of 22 percent in IDC\u2019s study and 23 percent in Gartner\u2019s. IDC put HP\u2019s growth at almost 7 percent, and Gartner estimated it at 6.3 percent.IDC\u2019s study includes shipments of desktop, notebook, ultraportable and x86 server PCs, but not handhelds. Gartner\u2019s includes desktop PCs, mobile PCs and x86 servers, and excludes workstations.-Juan Carlos Perez and Grant Gross, IDG News Service (Washington Bureau)Related Links:\n\nHP Spying Scandal\n\nHP Extends Mercury Offer for 3rd Time\n\nDell Showcases New LCD TVs, PrintersCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.