In contrast, companies including HP, Acer, Toshiba and Apple gained market share by using aggressive pricing to boost retail and consumer sales, particularly in the notebook segment, he said. That strategy appeared to overcome many vendors' fears that Microsoft's delays in launching Vista would push buyers to delay PC purchases.
"It does not appear that the January release of Vista's consumer version had a big impact on fourth quarter shipments, but it remains to be seen if the consumer drivers will remain strong in the first half of 2007," Loverde said.
For the fourth quarter, IDC estimated that the top five PC vendors by worldwide market share were HP (18.1%), Dell (14.7%), Lenovo (7.3%), Acer (7.1%) and Toshiba (3.7 %).
Gartner pegged HP as the top PC vendor for the quarter, with 17.4% market share, ahead of Dell at 13.9%.
For the entire year of 2006, Dell was able to hold onto its number-one spot, but barely. Ranked by market share, the top vendors were Dell (17.1%), HP (17.0%), Lenovo (7.3%), Acer (5.9%) and Toshiba (4.0%). IDC's market numbers include sales of desktop, notebook, ultraportable PCs and x86 servers, but not handhelds.
Robert McMillan contributed to this story.