A new report from IDC finds that Intel's Atom processor, a chip designed to create a whole new market of low-cost desktop and notebooks, helped propel the entire microprocessor market in the third quarter of 2008. The results meant that Intel kept its dominance in the overall market. AMD, meanwhile, watched as its market share of notebook processors shrank, but the company did gain back some momentum in the server and workstation segment thanks to its quad-core Opteron processor.
Atom processor is starting to have a significant impact on the overall
, as shipments of the chip for a series of low-cost
notebooks and desktops helped the world's processor market grow in the third
quarter of 2008, according to a new IDC
Overall, shipments of microprocessors for PCs and servers grew 15.8 percent in
the third quarter of 2008 compared with same time period a year ago. Revenue
from chip sales increased about 4 percent for a total of $8.3 billion. Without
Atom processor, shipments would have only increased about 8 percent, according
to the Nov. 3 IDC report.
The IDC report did note that while
shipments and revenue increased in the third quarter, the fourth quarter
remains difficult to calculate since the financial crisis and credit crunch in
the United States
started to intensify in September. On Oct. 31, Intel issued a warning that the
credit crunch could begin having an impact on its business, since its
enterprise customers might have trouble financing the purchases of new PCs and
Intel has called for its fourth-quarter revenue to fall between $10.1 billion
and $10.9 billion, which is below seasonal averages.
In the meantime, Advanced
, Intel's main rival in the x86 chip market, watched its share
of mobile processors slip, but the
company did manage to increase its share of the server and workstation market
thanks to its quad-core Opteron processor.
"Not considering the effects of Atom, the overall market still grew at a
decent pace in [the third quarter of 2008]," Shane Rau, an analyst at IDC,
wrote in a statement. "Intel's and AMD's
shipments grew at a rate only slightly slower than typical for a third quarter;
seasonal demand appeared reasonable up until September. By segment, while the
mobile processor segment grew aggressively, the server segment was soft."
The influence of Intel's Atom processor for low-cost notebooks, or "netbooks,"
was on display in the last week of October, when
Dell, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard all released new laptops built around the Atom
. By the end of 2008, shipments of low-cost notebooks are expected to
top 10 million units, with some of the biggest sales coming in the United
States and Western Europe.
In the overall x86 market, Intel's
share of microprocessor shipments topped 80 percent, an increase of 1.1 percent
from a year ago.
AMD lost 1.2 percent of
its market share for a total of 18.5 percent. Via Technologies, which makes
low-watt processors for netbooks, only accounted for less than 1 percent of the
Intel controlled about 87 percent of the world's mobile chip shipments,
while AMD accounted for about 11.5 percent,
a decrease of about 1 percent from 2007. Via accounted for about 1.2 percent of
the market. On the desktop side, Intel controlled about 73.5 percent, while AMD
held 26.4 percent.
The one area where AMD gained market
share from Intel was within the server and workstation market. Here, AMD's
market share stood at about 14 percent, a gain of less than 1 percent from a
year ago. Meanwhile, Intel lost about 1 percent of its share, and the company
now accounts for about 85 percent of chip shipments to this market.
While the positive news through the first three quarters of 2008 has meant
that IDC will raise its chip forecast for
the year to 18 percent growth, the research firm believes that the overall
economy will have a significant impact on the market in 2009. Researchers now
plan to lower their forecast for next year.