Apple has retained its position as Europe's number one PC manufacturer to education markets, according to research firm Gartner, and has now held the position for eight successive quarters.

Statistically, Apple sold 19.2 percent of all computers sold in the European education sector - including servers. Apple is also the leading PC manufacturer in the UK - eclipsing Dell - for laptops and now also desktops, holding 17.3 percent of UK education market share, the analysts said.

Apple's good news continues, according to Gartner's figures, released last week: PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 13.8 million units in the second quarter of 2008, an increase of 22.9 percent compared with the same period in 2007.

In the UK, Apple shifted 119,000 Macs, giving the company a 4.3 percent grip on the overall computer market, the analyst's revealed. That's up from 85,000 Mac sales last year, giving Apple respectable growth of 40 percent - almost double that of the wider PC industry. Apple is now the fifth biggest PC maker in the UK.

"The PC market in the UK performed strongly this quarter with both the consumer and professional markets fuelling growth. This strong performance can only be sustained if new users are being reached or existing users are buying additional PCs or replacing their old ones more rapidly," said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner.

The market was driven by strong mobile PC sales that accounted for 64 percent of the total PC shipments, with volumes increasing 60 percent in the second quarter of 2008. The desk-based PC market suffered again with an 8 percent decline year-on-year.

The PC market in the UK again performed above expectations as the consumer market continued to boom. The introduction of the mini-notebook PC has created some excitement, and we expect sales in this segment will help the market sustain growth for the rest of the year," said Atwal told PC Advisor's sister title Macworld UK.