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x86 sales slump, but AMD share rises on 40th birthday

May 1, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Mercury Research estimates that the x86 microprocessor market suffered a 9.1 percent year-over-year decline, due to declining notebook sales, according to eWEEK. Yet, struggling AMD regained some market share as it celebrated its 40th birthday, says the story.

Intel still dominates the x86 market, with 78.2 percent of all global x86 chip shipments in the first quarter of 2009 — down from 82.1 percent in the fourth quarter and 78.5 percent in Q1 2008. Citing Mercury Research's first quarter PC processor report, the story in our sister publication eWEEK reports that overall x86 shipments declined 8.3 percent compared to 4Q 2008, slightly worse than the typical 7.4 percent 1Q slump.

Going against this trend, AMD moved from a 17 percent 4Q share of shipments to 20.9 percent, which was also up slightly from its 1Q 2008 share of 20.6 percent. Via Technologies, known primarily for its low-power and embedded x86 processors, came in a distant third, with less than one percent of worldwide x86 shipments, says the story.

The story did not report on which processors were selling better than others except to say that notebook processor sales were down. Two weeks ago, Intel announced 1Q financial results that were better than expected considering the recession, and declared that PC sales had “bottomed out.” Intel also announced that revenue from its Atom CPUs, such as the netbook-oriented N270 and nettop-focused 230 versions shown at top, was down 27 percent from the previous quarter. This suggests that netbook sales have not been quite as recession-proof as had been expected initially when the genre took off last year.

Happy Birthday, AMD

AMD's improving market share helped the semiconductor firm get in the mood for a year-long celebration of its 40th birthday starting today, says another eWEEK story. Recent news has not been so cheery, however, with AMD cutting hundreds of jobs in recent months, and announcing on April 21 that its 1Q revenues had dropped 21 percent year over year to $1.17 billion. The company lost $416 million in that period, says the story.

AMD has launched two contests to celebrate its birthday, with two more coming later this year. The first contest asks AMD users to submit happy birthday videos, and a second contest asks users to submit photos “showing how much they love AMD products.” A total of 80 prizes, including graphics cards, chips, and notebooks, will be given away in the four contests to be held this year, says the story.

Formed by Jerry Sanders and seven co-founders in 1969, AMD has played a major role in computing history and was just strong enough to provide serious competition for Intel. As a result, both companies prospered, helping to make the x86 architecture the preeminent microprocessor platform in the world.

With the growth of mobile devices, however, rival embedded architectures, in particular ARM, may well provide considerable competition for both AMD and Intel as the lines blur between PCs and consumer electronics. Having recently announced that it is retiring its embedded-oriented low-power Geode processor, AMD may instead target netbooks and similar hybrid prodcuts with a lower-power version of its new Athlon Neo processors.


Scott Ferguson's eWEEK story, “Intel Dominates a Declining x86 Processor Market,” may be found here.

Jeff Burt's eWEEK story, “AMD Kicks Off 40th Birthday Celebration,” may be found here.

More on AMD's 40th birthday and the related contests may be found here.

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