Early last year, Acer quietly slipped past Dell in global netbook shipments to become the number two vendor worldwide. Since then it's been a struggle between the two, with Acer generally coming out on top and continuing to widen the gap. Now, Acer is preparing to claim the number one spot, potentially usurping HP as the largest notebook vendor in the world.

Acer's shipments for Q3 were only a few hundred thousand units shy of HP, which is drop in the bucket when faced when the tens of millions that are sold each quarter. Acer approached HP's dominance primarily in consumer grade notebooks, with HP still having an advantage in higher-end models geared towards business and enterprise.

Analysts believe it is too late for Acer to overcome HP this quarter, but they say it is on track to become number one. That would be quite a turn around for Acer, who first entered the market offering only low-end machines.