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Meet the company that’s outgrowing Apple

For months we’ve witnessed Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) defy industry norms by growing even as the rest of the PC market fell. No longer. Depending on whose data you trust, the Mac maker saw U.S. sales fall between 6% and 7% year over year during the third quarter.

Lenovo — the Chinese computer maker that took over IBM‘s (NYSE: IBM) PC business in 2005 — was the lone grower, improving sales by at least 6% over last year’s Q3.

Don’t take that to mean Apple did poorly. Quite the contrary: The Mac maker added about a point of market share over the past year and now ranks as the third-largest PC supplier to the U.S. market, according to data compiled by researchers Gartner and IDC. Lenovo ranks fourth in the US, and is vying for the top spot worldwide.

Not surprisingly, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) appear to have suffered the most from Apple and Lenovo’s rise. What’s interesting is that the situation may be even worse than the numbers suggest. Why? The iPad.

Think back to last month, and these comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple’s iPhone 5 launch event: “We sold more iPads [last quarter] than any PC manufacturer sold of their entire PC line.”

We won’t know Apple’s fiscal Q4 iPad sales until the company reports earnings on Oct. 25. But what if it comes close to the 17 million Cook bragged of selling during fiscal Q3? Have a look, first at the U.S. data:

Supplier Gartner Est. Q3 2012 Shipments* Gartner Est. Q3 2012 Growth (YOY) IDC Est. Q3 2012 Shipments* IDC Est. Q3 2012 Growth (YOY)
HP 4,142 (19.3%) 4,293 (18.8%)
Dell 3,271 (15.9%) 3,402 (16%)
Apple 2,079 (6.1%) 2,211 (7.0%)
Lenovo 1,358 6.1% 1,368 9.2%
Acer Group 990 (28.2%) 1,006 (19.6%)
All others 3,478 (10.3%) 4,300 (8.5%)

Sources: Gartner and IDC. *Units in thousands.

Now, here are the worldwide figures. As you can see, ASUS and Lenovo are accelerating in Asia in much the same way Apple had been in the U.S.:

Supplier Gartner Est. Q3 2012 Shipments* Gartner Est. Q3 2012 Growth (YOY) IDC Est. Q3 2012 Shipments* IDC Est. Q3 2012 Growth (YOY)
Lenovo 13,768 9.8% 13,824 10.2%
HP 13,551 (16.4%) 13,946 (16.4%)
Dell 9,217 (13.7%) 9,499 (14%)
Acer Group 8,633 (10.2%) 8,414 (9.6%)
ASUS 6,381 11.8% 6,381 10.0%
All Others 35,955 (11.6%) 35,732 (12.2%)

Sources: Gartner and IDC. *Units in thousands.

As ripe a disruptive opportunity as the PC market appears to be right now — right around the world — it’s the iPhone 5 that Apple investors care about most. Yet that may change soon. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has ordered 10 million “mini” iPads in order to meet outsized demand. Could a move to introduce a lighter, smaller iPad help move consumers even further away from PCs and stop the stock’s recent decline?

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The Motley Fools purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

A version of this article, written by Tim Beyers, originally appeared on fool.com

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