Microsoft Becomes a Top 5 PC Maker in the US

Posted on October 10, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft, Microsoft Surface with 23 Comments

Microsoft is a top five PC maker in the United States for the first time ever. The company displaced Acer as one of the top 5 makers this quarter, with a market share of 4.1%, reports Gartner.

Although the global PC market saw some impressive growth after ages in Q2 2018, this quarter has been fairly flat for the industry. With only 0.1% growth and 67.2 million units sold, there hasn’t been much growth in the market this quarter, as noted by VentureBeat. Microsoft did, however, make big movements this quarter.

The company’s Surface shipments only went up by 11,000 units, resulting in a growth of 0.1% in market share. That 0.1% growth was enough to displace Acer, making Microsoft one of the top 5 PC maker in the United States for the first time in history, six years after the company first started making Surface devices.

That’s a big accomplishment for Microsoft’s Surface brand. Although Surface hasn’t been making significant growth in recent times, it’s slowly turning out to be a billion-dollar business for Redmond. Microsoft is still far behind Apple, the fourth top PC vendor in the US, with 13.7% market share. The company’s Surface business still has a long way to go, and the new Surface devices launched last week could help continue its growth.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Microsoft Becomes a Top 5 PC Maker in the US”

  1. skane2600

    Given that number 4 has a market share over 3 times as large, it's not very impressive IMO. Or another way to look at it is that over 95% of the market is non-MS PCs.

    • kenhes

      In reply to skane2600:

      Given that for 100% of the Surface line life till now they have been outside of the top 5 I think it's noteworthy. Progress starts somewhere.

      • skane2600

        In reply to kenhes:

        Top 5 is an arbitrary classification, it's the percentages that matter. Consider that the top 2 have over 1/2 of the market and those outside the top five collectively have more than double Microsoft's share. According to Paul's article, Surface PCs only grew by 0.1%. which is pretty much negligible even it it eases out Acer for 5th place.

  2. matsan

    Aren't you cherry-picking data here? Yes, Microsoft is #5 in US, but world-wide they don't even register.

    Furthermore, PC sales in US are down according to Gartner, but up world-wide.


    The top take-away from the stats for me is that only the top 3 players (Lenovo, HP and Dell) are increasing while the rest of the brands are declining.

  3. PeterC

    I hope Nadella and his trusted number cruncher remain committed to surface, but I am not sure they are or will. Recent product launches can’t just be explained away as iterative staged development, in my opinion.


    Xbox is moving to a service platform, office and windows already are well on their way and that leaves.... surface. As a design house it’s got bags of potential, but I can see it being sold to Dell or someone else, maybe it’s designs get licensed out to manufacturers, which could be interesting too. It’s not far off what they’ve done with surface 2-1 concepts anyway.


    But volume hardware isn’t in Nadella’s vision. He’s into small runs of hardware that show important software or technologies off and their potential. Then get others to pursue the potential using MS azure platform etc.


    Before you disagree in a frothy tone with me just take a look at the figures Paul’s quoted. Look at the financial commitment Nadella would have to make to reach Apple at its fourth place position. He ain’t spending the dough and he never intends to. But he will get others to do so.


  4. warren

    Also noteworthy from these sales numbers is that Apple's marketshare continues to stagnate. Loudmouth Mac zealots can yap all they want about how Windows and the PC is dying, but 93 out of every 100 computers still ship with Windows..... same as it's been for many years now.



  5. bbelt1970

    What I find ironic, is that other pc makers are paying M$ to compete against them in the same space. Go figure.

    • Angusmatheson

      In reply to bbelt1970:

      Yes! Every $ the OEMs paid to Microsoft supports them building computers to compete with their products. And it allowed Microsoft to take 900 million write off on Surface RT and stay in business and keep competing because they had huge hoards of cash that the OEMs allowed them to make. Microsoft is only on the high end, high margin part of the market where all the profits are. Leaving the OEMs to slum it in the brutal low end. Maybe they don’t reallly have a choice but to make and sell Windows Computers (giving Microsoft like $50-$100 each one they sell), but I’m amazed the OEM haven’t embraced ChromeOS, Android, or Linux computers (it is probably too late to hope for WebOS computers) to avoid that.

      • MachineGunJohn

        In reply to Angusmatheson:

        The other non-apple oems have been trying very hard to break Chromebooks out of the education ecosystem niche but end users have been rejecting it. MS is having better success breaking Surface into education. MS October 2018 Surface event consists of nothing but disappointingly minor incremental updates that left users resigned to wait another year and left the door wide open for google. Alas the October 2018 Google hardware event came and went with nothing to change that. Surface was hamstrung by the 4 years and counting ongoinig intel 10nm execution fiasco, Google has only themselves to blame.

  6. Truffles

    MS is risking anti-trust problems if their hardware market share increases too much. EG, if MS hardware planners have early knowledge from MS OS planners, thereby giving MS an advantage over other PC makers.


    That said, of more immediate risk is that the other PC makers decide to double down on Chrome OS devices in markets other than schools.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Truffles:

      I think both the probability of MS becoming a major player in the PC hardware market or Chromebooks becoming a major force in the laptop market are pretty low.


      More likely we'll see other PC makers continue to concentrate on the Windows market with sales appropriate to a mature PC market.


    • FalseAgent

      In reply to Truffles:

      why doesn't anyone say this about Google and their Pixel efforts? They arguably have done more of what you have mentioned. Microsoft literally gives away their surface designs to OEMs.

  7. Nadawan

    Hmm, Windows Phone was hovering at 5% before MSFT stopped manufacturing them. And there are a lot more smartphones than PCs.

    • johnbaxter

      In reply to Nadawan:

      At one point, 4 of the 7 board of directors members of the local computer club (including me) were using Windows Phone. Of those 4, zero now use Windows Phone.

    • jptacek

      In reply to Nadawan:There wasn't much of a future for Windows Phone though. Nobody was writing apps for the platform so sales were declining. People/organizations continue to buy PCs. Microsoft also used the Surface to jumpstart PC design. Before Surface, the idea of tablet that was a PC was pretty novel. They made that work really well. They use Surface to set the bar high for other PC makers to catch up to and keep Windows viable. My guess, Surface isn't going anywhere. #MyTwoCents


      • phytio

        In reply to jptacek:

        This. And every time I see something wrong with Surface, like not having USB C or only having one port, I just think it's an obvious thing for other PC manufacturers to improve on - they take Surface designs and add in what they got wrong. MS doesn't want to compete with their partners too hard!

        • chrisrut

          In reply to phytio:

          Agreed. It is hard to lead without being totally narcissistic. MS has actually done quite well creating reference architectures/form factors for its partners - and for its competitors, to be blunt. That these reference architectures have risen to the level of a successful business unit in the US market is a noteworthy achievement.

          One can however wonder what might happen if MS were to happen upon a breakthrough of some sort... would they build the infrastructure to build in volume themselves - or continue to pass the larger volumes to other manufacturers?

    • Awhispersecho

      In reply to Nadawan:

      Yup. MS was close to 5% in the smartphone market at 1 point and it was considered a total failure. Apple has been at roughly 5% of the PC market for years and it's considered a resounding success. Pretty sad huh.

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