Advanced Micro Devices says it picked up nearly four points of market share in the x86 chip market during the fourth quarter.
The gain, which came as AMD posted strong fourth-quarter earnings, saw it pick up share in both PC and server processors, the chip maker said.
Overall, it represents one of the largest single-quarter market share increases in recent history for AMD, and landed the company just shy of its market share high point in the last five years.
AMDs overall x86 processor market share jumped to 21.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005, up 3.7 points from 17.7 percent in the prior quarter, AMD said, citing figures from Mercury Research.
Historically, Intel and AMD have traded only tenths of points per quarter, while the larger of the two, Intel, has maintained a share of 80 percent or more.
"Basically, I think the fundamental difference between AMD today and AMD two years ago [when the company had a lower market share] is that it has competitive product offerings in every segment," said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research in Cave Creek, Ariz. "Because [AMD] has something to sell, theyre selling it."
McCarron confirmed the figures provided by AMD, but he declined to comment on his stats for Intel.
Although the implication is that the chip giant, which recently admitted to bobbling sales of desktop processors during the fourth quarter of 2005, lost market share during the quarter, causing it to dip below the 80 percent mark for the period.
An Intel representative, reached via e-mail, said that Intel prefers not to comment on specific analyst reports.
However, "We do believe we lost some market segment share last year," he said in the e-mail.
"That said, weve got an outstanding 2006 product portfolio that started with a bang in January with the new Core Duo and Pentium D processors and includes our highly anticipated new micro-architecture arriving later this year," he said.
Indeed, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, speaking during the companys fourth-quarter financial report conference call, said he expects Intels 2006 chip rollouts will allow Intel to take back share that it lost in 2005.
Still, the last time AMD surged past the 20 percent mark came during 2001.
It held 20 percent or higher share for three of the four quarters that year, peaking at 21.8 percent during the second quarter, Mercury Research figures show.
AMDs most recent market share low came the following year, 2002, when it sunk to 11.6 percent of shipments during the third quarter, according to Mercury figures.
However, "AMDs got a much more complete product line now than they did when they hit their peak in 2001," McCarron said. So "its not due solely to desktop shipments. [AMD] gained share in every segment" during the fourth quarter of 2005.
AMD, citing Mercury Research figures, said it jumped to 16.4 percent of the x86 server chip market during the fourth quarter of 2005. It held 12.7 percent of server chips in the third quarter of 2005.
Meanwhile, AMD said its desktop market share improved almost four points to 24.3 percent, while its notebook processor share increased by almost three points to 15.1 percent, during the fourth quarter.
Overall, AMD claimed it had a market share of 18.2 percent for 2005, up almost 2.5 points, citing the Mercury Research figures.