The results are interesting because the worldwide PC microprocessor market is a bellwether for the overall tech industry’s performance, and it reflects the competitive seesaw battle between Intel, the world’s biggest chip maker, and perennial underdog AMD.
AMD made gains in the quarter thanks to better uptake of its Fusion family of microprocessors, which combine graphics and computing functions on the same chip. Intel has had strong results this year as well thanks to acceptance of its Sandy Bridge platform, which is also a computing-graphics hybrid.
IDC said that second quarter worldwide microprocessor unit shipments were down slightly compared to the first quarter. The results were flat compared to the second quarter of 2010. Low-end integrated graphics processors now account for 60 percent of the total PC processor unit volume in 2011. PC microprocessor growth has been sluggish in part because of growing consumer demand for smartphones and tablets.
Worldwide unit shipments were down 2.9 percent compared to the first quarter, and up 0.6 percent from a year ago. Revenues for the quarter were $9.49 billion, down 4 percent from the first quarter and up 5.4 percent from a year ago. Shane Rau, director of semiconductor PC research at IDC, said there was an extra week in the first quarter that helped results, so the sequential comparison isn’t a big surprise. Without that week, there would have been a slight uptick in the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Intel had 79.3 percent of overall worldwide PC microprocessor unit market share, a loss of 1.5 percentage points compared to the first quarter. AMD had 20.4 percent share, up 1.5 percentage points from the first quarter. Via Technologies’ share was 0.3 percent. In the second quarter, Intel was still strong in mobile chips. It had 84.4 percent of the unit segment, down 1.9 percentage points. AMD had 15.2 percent, a gain of 1.8 percentage points. Via earned 0.4 percent of the mobile market.
In PC servers and workstations, Intel had 94.5 percent market share, up 0.6 percentage points. AMD had 5.5 percent, down 0.6 percentage points. In PC desktops, Intel had 70.9 percent, down 1.5 percentage points, and AMD was 28.9 percent, up 1.5 percentage points. Due to economic headwinds in developed nations, IDC has reduced its overall forecast for the year from a 10.3 percent unit increase to 9.3 percent.