Q1 x86 shipments dipped below par

Intel, AMD jostle for market share

PC processor sales fell faster during the first quarter of 2004 than tradition would anticipate, the latest figures from market watcher Mercury Research shows.

Chip sales are usually lower in Q1 than the preceeding quarter, which includes the Christmas sales period. Historically, the average dip is in the order of five per cent, said Mercury, but this time round x86 shipments were down 7.9 per cent sequentially.

In all, some 48.7m x86 processors shipped during the first three months of the year. Some 83.6 per cent of them came stamped with the Intel logo. That represents a dip of 0.1 per cent over the previous quarter, barely enough to trouble the scorer.

In contrast, AMD's market share for the period rose to 14.9 per cent, but since the increase was a mere 0.2 percentage points, again that's as near as flat as makes no odds.

Other CPU makers, such as VIA and Transmeta, together saw their tiny market share dip, like Intel's, by 0.1 per cent in AMD's favour.

In the notebook arena, Intel took 90.1 per cent of the x86 market, up from 87.5 per cent in Q4 2003, Mercury's numbers reveal. AMD's share fell from 11.6 per cent to 8.4 per cent.

But it did better in the server space, gaining 1.7 percentage points of market share, to end up with 4.8 per cent of the business. You can argue for the benefits of Opteron over Xeon as long as you like, but it remains the case that AMD has a very long way to go to challenge Intel's 96.9 per cent share of the x86 server market. ®

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