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AMD will continue to grab market share from Intel next year, investment house Piper Jaffray (PJ) forecast this week, thanks to what the researcher called a "very compelling product line".

That means AMD's 64-bit Athlon 64 and Opteron processors, the former dubbed a "viable if not more potent competitor" to Intel's own desktop chips, which are leaving the chip giant at "the most vulnerable it has ever been in its history".

Ditto the low-end server market: "Intel's volume server product line-up is as weak as it has ever been relative to AMD's, although from a market share standpoint it was tough to get any better," said PJ. The company highlighted AMD's success winning business from almost all the major server vendors, in particular IBM, HP and Sun.

However, AMD's window of opportunity is limited, PJ reckons. It believes the rate at which AMD's market share is increasing will slow during 2005, particularly if Intel's 65nm process roll-out goes according to plan. Intel is sticking to its forecast of small-scale 65nm CPU shipments coming in late 2005, followed by much larger volumes in early 2006.

Having essentially slept through 2004, Intel will next year "awaken from its execution slumber", PJ said, though it will take most of the year "to position itself properly".

So while Intel blinks its eyes, rubs its forehead, scratches its privates and stumbles into the shower, AMD needs to move quickly to take advantage of its rival's lassitude.

Indeed, come 2006, Intel could even regain some of the market share it lost to AMD in 2005, warned PJ, thanks to its "stronger roadmap and world-leading manufacturing muscle". ®

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