Intel Dominates a Declining x86 Processor Market

Intel continues to dominate the world's x86 microprocessor market, which suffered a 9 percent year-over-year decline, according to Mercury Research. Laptop chip shipments took an especially big hit as consumers and business buyers cut back on notebook purchases. On the bright side, AMD regained some market share.

Intel continues to dominate a worldwide x86 microprocessor market that saw a year-over-year unit shipment decline of about 9 percent as consumers and business buyers cut back on laptop purchases.

The world's x86 chip market declined 9.1 percent from the first quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009, according to an April 30 report from Mercury Research. Processor chip shipments also declined 8.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of this year.

However, the quarter-over-quarter decline was only a little worse than the normal seasonal decline of about 7.4 percent.

"Mobile CPU shipments were down far more than server or desktop; without the mobile downturn, the first quarter would have been much stronger than seasonal," Dean McCarron, an analyst with Mercury, wrote in a summary of the report.

In his note, McCarron wrote that the market also saw Intel and Advanced Micro Devices make major inventory adjustments, which could explain some of the decline in x86 shipments.

At the same time, Mercury found that much of the extra processor inventory that had built up has now been consumed, which could mean that the market will bounce back in the second quarter.

During the company's first-quarter announcement, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said the PC market had hit rock bottom and would now begin to pick up.

Intel again dominated the worldwide x86 market, with 78.2 percent of all global x86 chip shipments in the first quarter of 2009. In the first quarter of 2008, Intel claimed 78.5 percent of world shipments and also recorded an 82.1 percent share in the fourth quarter of 2008.

AMD showed an improvement from the fourth quarter of 2008, when its share of global shipments stood at 17 percent, to the first quarter of this year, when its share of unit shipments increased to 20.9 percent.

AMD's share of x86 shipments in the first quarter of 2008 stood at 20.6 percent.

The Mercury report found that AMD improved its standings by adjusting its chip inventory to meet demand. AMD also gained back some of the OEM business it lost in late 2007 and early 2008.

Via Technologies, which makes a line of low-power x86 processors, claimed less than 1 percent of worldwide x86 shipments in the first quarter of 2009.