The latest report on the worldwide x86 microprocessor market from Mercury Research shows that Intel dominated the chip market in the third quarter due to shipments of its processors for notebooks. The report also showed that the overall x86 processor market had a better-than-expected quarter despite the ongoing financial crisis, although the market for chips from Intel, AMD and Via did slow down in September.
Intel dominated the world's market for x86 microprocessors in the third
quarter of 2008 thanks to increased shipments of notebook processors, according
to an Oct. 23 report from Mercury Research.
Overall, the worldwide shipments of x86 processors increased 13 percent in
the third quarter of 2008 compared with the same period last year. Normally,
the third quarter sees processor shipments increase about 10 percent on
average. While the increase in chip shipments is a piece of good news as the
financial crisis continues
, the Mercury report did indicate that shipments
began to slow down in September.
It was in September that the financial crisis came into focus as a series of
problems led to trouble at Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.),
Fannie Mae and Lehman Brothers. The
impact of the financial crisis might mean that companies cut back on their
purchases of hardware, such as PCs and server,
which will then impact Intel
and Advanced Micro Devices.
"We're starting to see a weakening in servers already," Dean McCarron, an
analyst at Mercury, wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK. "My own forecast is pretty
pessimistic about the overall market in the fourth quarter, so I would say I
expect the impact right now, and it'll show up in the [fourth-quarter] results
In addition to the impact of the financial crisis on the chip market, the
Mercury report found that, for the first time, shipments of mobile processors
for laptops outstripped shipments of processors for desktops.
Analyst firms, along with Intel
have anticipated this crossover for some time due to the
increasing importance and popularity of notebooks in the consumer market
well as the enterprise. Revenue from mobile chips already outpaces revenue from
watchers believed the notebook crossover would happen sometime in 2009
believed that the changeover would happen in the fourth quarter of this year.
"I expected it in the [fourth quarter of 2008], so it's one quarter ahead of
my forecast," McCarron wrote in the e-mail. McCarron added that the financial
crisis will have less of an impact on the notebook market due to its continued
growth. In addition, Intel's Atom processor has helped drive down the average
selling price of laptops, which means buyers can still get a bargain at least
in the lower end of the notebook market.
For the quarter, mobile shipments increased 27 percent, according to
In the third quarter, Intel's market share reached 81.2 percent, compared with
the 76.2 percent market share the chip giant held during the same period in
2007. AMD's market share slipped from 23
percent in 2007 to 17.7 percent this year.
For AMD, the period from the third
quarter of 2007 until the third quarter of 2008 repressed the time it struggled
to bring its quad-core Opteron processor to market. In
the last few months, the company has managed to get chips out to its customers
and McCarron found the company did increase it share of the server market.
AMD and Intel each have major
announcements planned before the end of the year.
will launch its 45-nanometer "Shanghai" chip
in the coming weeks, which
should help improve its standing in the server market, especially with
high-end, multisocket systems. In November, Intel
plans to roll out the first of its chips based on the company's new Nehalem
The first processor, the Intel Core i7, is designed for
high-end PC and gaming machines.
While Intel and AMD dominate the x86
market, Via, a small company that makes low-watt, low-cost processors mainly
for notebooks, claimed 1 percent of the market in third quarter.