Intel, AMD in Stalemate in Chip Market, iSuppli Says

With well-matched competing products and not much happening in user markets, Intel and AMD see little change in market share, according to iSuppli.

Intel and Advanced Micro Devices' rivalry in the processor business is at a standstill, at least for now, according to market research firm iSuppli.

In a report released Dec. 15, iSuppli analysts said that in the third quarter, each vendor saw incremental changes in market share. Intel, which controls 80.1 percent of the worldwide revenue in the processor space, saw its share grow .1 percent over the same period last year, but drop 3 percent from the second quarter. Meanwhile, AMD saw its market share drop boths sequentially and year-over-year, but the drop was less than 1 percentage point. AMD held an 11.3 percent market share in the third quarter, according to iSuppli.

AMD's market share was 11.5 percent in the second quarter, and 12.1 percent in the third quarter of 2009.

Worldwide, overall chip revenues grew 23 percent in the third quarter over the same period in 2009, and 3 percent over the second quarter.

The reasons for the lack of movement come from both the vendors and the larger industry, according to iSuppli analyst Matthew Wilkins.

"In reality, the share changes in the third quarter from the two incumbents were extremely small and not at all significant," Wilkins said in a statement. "What is significant, however, is that neither company has been able to take any sizable share away from the other. One reason is that each company offers well-matched competitive product portfolios. Another reason is that end markets are not undergoing significant changes in market share of product lineup that would impact microprocessor market share."

That situation could change after the new year, he said. At the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 in January, Intel officials are expected to roll out their new "Sandy Bridge" chip architecture, the successor to "Nehalem." In addition, Intel next year will continue its push to expand its business beyond the PC and servers spaces by introducing its "Oak Trail" and "Moorestown" Atom processors for tablet PCs running on the Windows, Android or MeeGo operating systems. President and CEO Paul Otellini said he expects systems makers to unveil about 35 tablet designs powered by Atom.

Otellini also said that in the second half of 2011, smartphones powered by the 32-nanometer "Medfield" Atom processor will hit the market.

Meanwhile, AMD is ready to make its move with its Fusion APUs (accelerated processing units), which offer full graphics capabilities on the same piece of silicon as its CPU. AMD's "Llano" APU-for ultra-thin laptops and desktop PCS-and "Ontario" APU for tablets, notebooks and netbooks, both will debut in 2011. Other APU chips will roll out in 2011 and into 2012, according to AMD officials.

In addition, both AMD and Intel are pushing deeper into the embedded device space.

"There remains a very competitive situation between the two dominant suppliers," he said. "In particular, we look forward to seeing the effect that AMD's forthcoming Fusion products might have on the share situation for these two mega-players."

Still, as they expand their reach, others are looking to take market share away from Intel in the server space. ARM, which designs processors that can then be built by such manufacturers as Samsung and Qualcomm for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, wants to expand into the server space for low-power systems in such environments as cloud computing.