Around August this year Intel SA's Sven Beckman predicted that by the end of the year, shipments of notebook computers would for the first time outstrip those of traditional desktops. Seems he was right. Research group iSuppli yesterday released figures for the third quarter showing notebook shipments surging by 40% to 38,6-million units compared to the same period last year, and a 1,3% decline in desktops to 38,5-million.

Describing the latest figures as a "watershed event in the history of the industry", iSuppli says overall PC shipments increased 15,4% to 79-million units over the comparative period.
“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,” says Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for computer 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.
“While the third quarter 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,” Wilkins adds.
According to iSuppli, there were no changes to the Top 5 PC OEM listings and rankings for the third quarter of 2008.
HP retained top position with shipments of 14,9-million units, and a market share of 18.8% followed by Dell with shipments of slightly less than 11-million units and 13,9% market share. Acer leapfrogged Lenovo to take third spot with 9,7-million units shipped and a 12,2% market share. Lenovo (7,5% market share) and Toshiba (4,6%) round out the Top 5.
“The big news from iSuppli's market share data for the third quarter was undoubtedly the performance of Taiwan’s Acer,” Wilkins says. “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 the third quarter 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.”
On the other hand, 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 reported a great performance with its notebook shipments, iSuppli says, 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.
Wilkins says that In view of the better-than-expected third-quarter PC shipments, iSuppli has slightly increased its full year 2008 unit growth forecast from 12.5% to 13% and revised its 2009 outlook calls for PC unit growth of 4.3%.