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Apple Hits New High with 13.6% Share of U.S. PC Shipments in 3Q 2012, Lenovo Captures Worldwide Title

Research firm Gartner today released its preliminary personal computer shipment data for the third quarter of 2012, providing a picture of just how weak market performance was during the quarter. While Apple actually experienced a year-over-year unit decline of 6.1% in the United States, other top vendors with the exception of Lenovo posted even steeper declines, giving the overall U.S. market a 13.8% decrease in shipments.

Gartner's Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q12 (Thousands of Units)

Apple's share of the U.S. market rose to 13.6% for the third quarter on the strength of the back-to-school market, which is typically drives Apple's best performing quarter. The figure allowed Apple to maintain its comfortable hold on the third position in the U.S. market behind HP and Dell and marks Apple's best performance in recent years in beating out the company's 12.5% share in the third quarter of 2011.

Apple's U.S. Market Share Trend: 1Q06-3Q12 (Gartner)

As usual, Gartner did not cover Apple's worldwide market share for the quarter, as the company does not rank among the top five vendors on a worldwide basis. PC shipments experienced an 8.3% year-over-year decline on a worldwide basis, with Lenovo's 9.8% growth enabling it to take the shipment title away from HP.

Update 2:04 PM: IDC has also released its estimates for the quarter, pegging Apple's share of the U.S. market at 12.5% on a shipment decline of 7%. According to IDC, the overall U.S. market shrank by 12.4%

On a worldwide basis, IDC estimates that HP was narrowly able to hold off Lenovo for the top spot.

Microsoft's Office for iOS coming March 2013

The Verge reports that a Microsoft product manager today confirmed that the company is working on versions of Microsoft Office for both iOS and Android, targeting a March 2013 release. The comments were made to Czech site [Google translation] at a press event in that country.

The Verge also notes that it has seen a press release from Microsoft's team in the Czech Republic confirming the launch plans.
"In addition to Windows, Office will be also available on other operating systems, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS, Android, iOS and Symbian," says Microsoft, while separately noting that there will also be a new version of Office Web Apps too. [...]

The press release also mentions that Office 2013 will be made available to businesses in December, with a consumer launch scheduled for the end of February 2013. "Office 365 services and other Office products for mobile (phones and tablets) will be released from March 2013," says Microsoft.

There has been considerable confusion over the possibility of Office for iOS, with The Daily having claimed in February that it had hands-on time with a working prototype of the software but Microsoft denying the report's details. In May, a pair of reports narrowed the release of Office for iPad (and possibly iPhone) to November of this year, with November 10 being floated as the actual date. It now appears, however, that the iOS launch may track more closely with the broader Office 2013 release.

Update 8:29 AM:'s Otakar Schon has followed up to let us know that there was a miscommunication with the Microsoft representatives and that the timeline for an Office release on iOS and Android is "after March".

Update 10:51 AM: Microsoft head of PR Frank X. Shaw released this statement on Twitter:
The information shared by our Czech Republic subsidiary is not accurate. We have nothing further to share.