The Hidden Giant of the PC Market

I was reading an article about Hewlitt-Packard and a sentence jumped out at me. The wording made me think that Lenovo had purchased Dell. My eyes shot wide open and I went googling and discovered that no, this bizarre thing had not happened. What happened was not that Lenovo had taken over Dell, but rather that they overtook Dell as the #2 computer seller in the world. I actually have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’m all about the Thinkpad. On the other hand, Dell is an American company and I tend to root for American companies in the international marketplace (even if I don’t purchase their products).

In any event, it listed the top five makers in order: HP 17.7%, Lenovo 13.5%, Dell 11.6%, Acer 10.6%, ASUS 6.2%.

It seemed to me that Apple was missing from this. And bizarre that Lenovo was actually #2. And shouldn’t Toshiba be on there? Then I realized that this was the world market, so I looked at the US market: HP 28.9%, Dell 21.9%, Apple 12.9%, Toshiba 8.4%, Acer 7.4%.

That struck me as reasonable but for one thing: I never see HP’s anywhere!. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I see far more Thinkpads than HP’s out there. The workplace? Everywhere I’ve worked, just about, has gone with Dell. Maybe the home desktop market is where HP does well. But it’s just weird that they are so significantly on top and they’re maybe the fifth or sixth name that comes to mind when I think of computer brands.


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


    • I’m glad you’re happy with your purchase. I considered an HP a while back when I was asking whether it was really worth the price premium to stick with Lenovo. I decided it was and made what I think was the right decision for me.

    • Is it relevant that Costco sells mostly HPs? I wonder if sam’s or walmart is the same way…

      Both my Pavilion dm1z (which I ordered online from the manufacturer for about what an iPad would cost) and our home desktop (Costco purchase) are very very shiny and well behaved.

      • My selection criteria was pretty simple: I told the Fry’s salesman to give me the baddest-ass, most reliable development laptop in the store. He grinned and pointed to the dv7 Quad and said “That’s the one I want, myself”. Maxed it out on RAM, threw a couple of terabytes on an external drive and it’s been impressing the hell out of me ever since.

      • Come to think of it, Walmart sells HPs, and also Acers and I think ASUS’s. That probably helps all those brands notably.

    • I was vaguely aware of that, because of their ownership of Compaq. I was under the impression that these lists were looking at desktops and laptops. I could be wrong about that.

  1. I used to have a Thinkpad at work, and bought my daughter one when she went away to school. Both wonderfully well-built machines. Our HP laptop, on the other hand, was a complete piece of &^%$.

    • I’m a fanboy. My philosophy is that when I want a laptop, I get a Thinkpad. If I can’t afford a Thinkpad, I get a used Thinkpad.

      I’ve never had an HP, but I have had some bad luck personally or professionally with Toshiba (twice), Sony (once), and Gateway (once, and it wasn’t that bad).

  2. I don’t know much at all about the PC market or these companies. But I will say that I’ve had very, very bad experiences with Toshiba, and I’m not inclined to purchase any more of their products.

    • Same here, actually, twice. My wife had a Toshiba when we met and I bought one for a former boss. I did *love* the Toshiba’s keyboard, but that was about it. A lot of people love Toshiba and except for everyone I talk to about them, they are supposed to have a good reputation.

      I actually worked in QA with some Toshiba smartphones as part of our test set. They were amazing (crushed Samsung, quality-wise). That they never had any market penetration in the US says a lot about our cellular industry.

    • I’ve owned two Toshiba laptops, and they both managed to expire within three weeks of the end of their warranties. Pretty frustrating, but I had to admire the precision of their engineering.

      • I’ve actually still got my Thinkpad from 2003. It’s not in great shape, but mostly because I dropped in that third time and that put an adolescent* crack in the monitor. Behind the dead pixels, still works like a charm. I have it on “alternate printer duty” where it mostly just acts as a conduit between my printer and the network when the other laptop I use for that is being used for something else.

        * – irritating and always growing.

  3. You don’t see HP much because, well, they hired an idiot to lead the company and, well, the idiot exceeded all expectations.

    Or I suppose a less “I knew several people that worked for HP with Fiorina took over and got laid off as the company went down the tubes” version would be “HP has struggled greatly in the last 15 years or so”

    • Yet they’re still #1, both in the US and internationally. So they’re struggling financially, and maybe quality-wise, but they’re still selling. Just not to anybody I actually see using them.

  4. My last desktop was an HP. It has since been replaced with one that was built for me (with an ASUS motherboard, I think), but that’s what I’ve got to contribute here.

    • ASUS motherboards are awesome. I never had a mobo brand loyalty (I have a Gigabyte here, an MSI there), but my last one was an ASUS. All of my future ones will be.

      How did you have it built? Did you order a built one, hire someone to build it for you, or have a friend who loves building them?

      • ASUS motherboards are awesome. Gigaboom motherboards are awesome until they explode. Next time, get ASUS. 😉

      • My Linux boxen all feature Asus motherboards.

        I don’t build my own hardware: there are people I trust for that sort of thing. Actually, I had this box built for my g/f when I began to lead her into the Dark Side of Linux software development. Kinda forgot until I just looked, this is also an Asus monitor.

        • … the dark side? here I thought the dark side of software development involved mingw…

          • They made her take a Visual Basic .NET course last semester. With Access as the database. That’s the dark side.

            Thank the Lord I was there to help her write a DAO to isolate the badness behind some method calls.

          • Meant ta ask, what compiler do you use?
            A different dark side to computing: a method with 80 arguments, most of which are structs. Takes nearly as much work to tweak the algorithm, as to write better code in the first place.

          • shit, i knew a guy who crashed a supercomputer using access as a production database. it crashed within two days. (and then he got the funding for a better database.)

  5. I (well, Mrs. Likko and I) own three HP’s. Two laptops and a brand new, slick-as-a-catfish-in-Vaseline desktop. Never had a hardware problem of any kind until I put in an aftermarket SSD into my laptop.

    • Well. Californians.


      (Seriously, I wonder if there is a regional component? Do you know a lot of people with HPs?)

  6. HP has gotten substantially better at customer service over the past few years. In fact their warranties have been (at least IMO) the best in the business.

    The quality of their laptops has gone up substantially in the past 2 years or so, as well.

    • unless they put your hard drives in upside down. which breaks them shortly afterward. our work compys are hps. they run HOT.

      • So do Thinkpads, unfortunately (though not my current one – yet). So I can’t ding HP for that.

  7. My employer issues HPs to everyone who works in a PC environment, I suspect that the business market probably moves far more desktops and laptops now than the consumer market and HP still comes in very strong there, surely thanks in part to “synergy” with their server business.

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