Funny Numbers Peg Apple Being on Pace to Become Largest PC Vendor in 2012

When it comes to Macs versus PCs, Apple versus Microsoft, and iOS versus Windows, haters gonna hate no matter which side you choose, if in fact you're not completely platform agnostic. There's nothing we can do about that. All we can do is observe and report the facts, and in this case, a market research firm is saying Apple is on track to become the world's largest PC vendor in 2012. Is that really a fact?

It depends on how you view the numbers. Canalys said it expects Apple to overtake HP in the second half of next year, but that's only if you count tablet sales. If you do, well, Apple's full year PC shipments for 2011 are on pace to reach 415 million units, up 15 percent year-on-year, and 59 million can be attributed to the iPad.

"Apple has seen its PC market share expand from 9 percent to 15 percent in just four quarters, though iPad shipments in its core market – the United States – are likely to come under pressure in Q4 due to the launch of the Fire and Nook at extremely competitive price points," said Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling. "HP and Apple will fight for top position in Q4, but Apple may have to wait for the release of iPad 3 before it passes HP."

And just like that, Canalys has given Apple fans some big time bragging rights, but should we count tablets among PC sales? That depends on who you ask. Gartner, for example, doesn't include tablets when calculating PC market share, and if going by Gartner's numbers, Apple isn't even on the chart of leading worldwide PC vendors. According to Gartner's figures, HP is on top with a 17.7 percent share of the market, followed by Lenovo (13.5 percent), Dell (11.6 percent), Acer (10.6 percent), Asus (6.2 percent), and Others (40.5 percent).

In the U.S. only, Gartner has Apple in third place with a 12.9 percent share of the American market behind HP (28.9 percent) and Dell (21.9 percent). All of these figures by Gartner include desktops and mobile PCs such as mini-notebooks, but not media tablets.

So there's your overall picture, from two different perspective. What do you think, should PC market share figures include media tablets?