Acer pulled closer to HP than ever in the third quarter of 2009, when it shipped 8.86 million laptops compared to HP's 9.91 million, but it looks like things swung well back in the other direction during the fourth quarter. According to DigiTimes, HP shipped a whopping 11.38 million laptops worldwide in Q4, while Acer moved 9.5 million units during the same time period -- an sizable increase in itself, but likely not enough to cause too much celebration at Acer HQ. As you might suspect, the holiday shopping season was largely responsible for the jump in sales from both companies, with strong sales in North America in particular said to be the main reason behind HP's widening lead.

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HP increases lead over Acer in worldwide laptop shipments