Hewlett-Packard (HP) has overtaken Dell to become the world's largest seller of personal computers, according to a survey by market research firm Gartner.
The survey must be welcome news during a tough time at HP
HP had 16.3% of the global market in the third quarter of 2006, compared with rival Dell's 16.1%, Gartner said.
In the three months to the end of September, HP shipped 9.65 million units, while Dell shipped 9.54 million.
The survey will come as welcome news for HP, which has recently been mired in an illegal spying scandal.
Former HP chairman Patricia Dunn quit last month
The firm, which is being investigated by California's Attorney General, is alleged to have spied on directors and other employees who it thought might be leaking unfavourable stories to the media.
The crisis at the company led to the resignation of HP chairman Patricia Dunn at the end of last month.
Gartner analysts said HP had overtaken Dell because it was better adapting to changing market conditions.
This time last year, Gartner put Dell's global share at 16.6%, and HP's at 15.1%.
"HP continues to take better advantage of the faster growth segments such as the consumer market," said Gartner's Mikako Kitagawa.
"Dell felt the effects of the weak sales in the US market, and it gave up some ground."
A separate survey by International Data Corp put HP and Dell level, saying each had a global share of 17.3%.