The PC microprocessor business continues to show signs that it's coming out of the slump caused by the worldwide recession, according to research firm IDC.
Intel continued to rule the market, increasing its market share by .5 percent over rival Advanced Micro Devices, according to IDC numbers released April 29.
Overall, chip unit shipments showed a seasonal decline of 5.6 percent over the fourth quarter of 2009, but a 39 percent jump over the same period last year, when the recession was in full force.
"PC processor shipments typically decline around 7 to 8 percent going from fourth quarter to first quarter," IDC analyst Shane Rau said in a statement. "A decline of 5.6 percent is modest and wouldn't mean much by itself. However, after the huge rise in shipments we saw in the fourth quarter, it adds more credibility to market recovery and that the PC industry anticipates improvement in PC end demand in 2010."
This dovetails with new products being pushed out by Intel and AMD, Rau said.
Intel held an 81 percent market share, while AMD saw its share drop .6 percentage points, to 18.8 percent. Via Technologies held a .2 percent share.
All sectors of the market experienced seasonal quarter-over-quarter shipment declines, including mobile PC processors (6.3 percent), desktop processors (5.1 percent) and PC server processors (1.4 percent).
The overall market average selling price jumped 4.1 percent over the fourth quarter of 2009, in large part because of the larger number of high-end chips, according to IDC. The analysts also pointed out that Intel's low-end Atom chips, which are designed for netbooks, was 20 percent of Intel's mobile processor mix in the first quarter, a drop from 24 percent of the mix in the previous quarter.
Rau said that the increase in selling prices and the drop in Atom's share of Intel's mobile chip mix was an indication that buyers are expecting the positive economic situation to improve as 2010 goes along.
"Intel's new Core processors and AMD's new Athlon processors are ramping, and at a time when, IDC believes, consumers and corporations will be anticipating a much healthier 2010 and looking for more value than just low price in their PCs," he said. "In terms of the processor, that means more openness to paying for benefits such as good performance and reduced power consumption that serves long battery life."