Global notebook PC shipments exceeded those of desktops on a quarterly basis for the first time ever in the third quarter, according to iSuppli Corp. iSuppli data show that notebook PC shipments rose almost 40% in Q3 2008 compared to the same period of 2007 to reach 38.6 million units. Conversely, desktop PC shipments declined by 1.3% for the same period to 38.5 million units.

"Momentum has been building in the notebook market for some time, so it's not a complete surprise that shipments have surpassed those of desktops," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms at iSuppli. "However, this marks a major event in the PC market because it marks the start of the age of the notebook. The notebook PC is no longer a tool only for the business market, or a computer for the well-off consumer; it's now a computer for everyman."

Wilkins noted that while Q3 will be remembered as the time when the scale of the global economic/credit crunch truly became apparent, the PC market managed to deliver strong unit shipment growth during the period.

iSuppli data show that worldwide PC unit shipments rose 15.4% on the third quarter of 2007, with 79 million units shipped. This exceeds the firm's prior expectations of 12% year-over-year growth for Q3.

There were no changes to the Top-5 PC OEM listings and rankings for Q3 of 2008, according to iSuppli.

Hewlett-Packard Co of the US retained its no.1 ranking position in Q3 2008, with shipments of 14.9 million units, and a market share of 18.8%. Fellow US PC maker Dell Inc maintained its second-place ranking with shipments of slightly less than 11 million units, giving the company a market share of 13.9%. No.3 was Acer, with a market share of 12.2% resulting from shipments of 9.7 million during the quarter -- a standout performance. Rounding out the Top-5 PC OEM rankings were Lenovo and Toshiba Corp, ranked fourth and fifth, with market shares of 7.5% and 4.6%, respectively.

Wilkins said the performance of Taiwan's Acer Inc was undoubtedly the big news from iSuppli's market share data for the third quarter. "On a sequential basis, the company grew its unit shipment market share by 45%, and by 79% on a year-over-year basis. Acer shipped almost 3 million more notebooks in Q3 than it did in the preceding quarter, with the majority of those 3 million being the company's netbook products. Clearly, the company's netbook strategy is paying dividends, with Acer now trailing Dell by less than 2 percentage points of market share for all PCs," Wilkins said.

Looking outside of the Top-5 OEMs, Apple lost almost half a point of market share on a sequential basis at 3.2%, placing it seventh overall in total PC shipments. ASUSTeK Computer Inc reported a great performance with its notebook shipments, surpassing Lenovo to become the fifth-largest notebook PC OEM while retaining its position overall as the sixth-ranked PC OEM in terms of total PC shipments.