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Notebook chips driving CPU biz recovery

AMD, Intel do the market share shuffle

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The microprocessor market appears to be picking up on the back of increasing demand for mobile products, according to the latest figures from market watcher Mercury Research.

Mercury's numbers show a slight decline in processor shipments during Q2. But while the total was down, the number of mobile chips in the mix was up to record levels. Since mobile parts tend to command higher prices than desktop chips - and thus higher margins - that's good news for chip makers' revenue totals going forward.

"Mobile was the bright spot in a not-so-bright quarter," said Dean McCarron, Mercury's principal analyst, according to a Cnet report. "Typically you have a seasonal decline in Q2... [which] was a record quarter for portable component shipments."

"There's a lot of evidence that the third and fourth quarters are both going to be growth quarters as they normally are, seasonally, and pretty good growth quarters at that," he added.

The coming six months will see the arrival of AMD's Athlon 64 and, later, Intel's Prescott CPU, likely to be branded the Pentium 5. On the mobile front, notebook-oriented Athlon 64s are expected, and Intel has committed itself to boosting the performance of its Centrino Pentium M chip, courtesy of the 90nm Dothan core.

The arrival of the Centrino platform, however, did little for Intel's market share during Q2 - it fell fractionally from 82.7 per cent in the year-ago quarter to 82.5 per cent. That tiny dip was shared by AMD, whose share rose from 15.6 per cent to a massive 15.7 per cent, and the Others category, which went from 1.7 per cent to 1.8 per cent.

Pretty much static, year on year, then. The figures are more interesting when you compare them with the previous quarter, however. AMD lost share, falling from Q1's 16.6 per cent, while Intel grew its leadership from 81.7 per cent. The Others gained a tenth of a percentage point between Q1 and Q2. ®

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