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AMD cites gains in sluggish market

Taking a shot at earlier reports, Advanced Micro Devices says it's holding its own in the chip sales fray--and has new research to back up its assertion.

Taking a shot at earlier reports, Advanced Micro Devices says it's holding its own in the chip sales fray--and has new research to back up its assertion.

The chipmaker cites a new report from research firm Gartner that shows AMD improved its market share in the second quarter of 2002, despite a lackluster PC market and delays in delivering some of its processors. The report said AMD gained one point of market share in desktop and notebook PCs that quarter, compared with the same period last year. That contrasts with other studies, which showed AMD losing two points of market share.

According to AMD, the report on the chipmaker's second-quarter sales shows that it increased its overall market share in PCs from 18 percent to 19 percent year over year. It also said AMD maintained its 21 percent share in all major desktop markets and added six points in notebooks, rising to a 12 percent share in the second quarter of this year. Those figures were extrapolated from Gartner's data regarding PC shipments.

AMD executives said they were pleased with the company's performance in the face of a sluggish PC market, which was hit particularly hard by a slowdown in consumer PC sales in April and May.

"As we step back and look at it, we've generally maintained our market share across all the segments...even in the face of what I'd consider one of the most challenging environments the PC market has faced in years," said Mark Bode, AMD's brand manager for Athlon products.

AMD posted small gains in several other Windows desktop PC segments, according to Gartner. It jumped two points in the consumer desktop PC arena, moving from 25 percent to 27 percent. Its saw the same jump in sales to government, where its share increased from to 18 percent. AMD also saw one-point gains among small and medium-size businesses, climbing to 16 percent of the market, and among large businesses, where it ticked upward to 8 percent, AMD said, citing the Gartner report.

Another, earlier study by Mercury Research, though, showed that AMD's market share slipped from 21.6 percent of the worldwide market in the second quarter of 2001 to 15.6 percent during the second quarter of this year. Mercury uses a different methodology and relies in part on statistics culled from processor manufacturers.

The company has also had to contend with some product delays. AMD's newest chips, the Athlon XP 2400+ and 2600+, will begin shipping inside desktop PCs by the end of this month, Bode said. Originally, the 2400+ was due in the second quarter.

Last week, AMD also delayed the introduction of two new processors, a new version of its current Athlon XP dubbed Barton and its next generation Athlon, called ClawHammer. Barton was due to hit shelves in the fourth quarter, while Clawhammer was set to go public early in the first quarter of 2003. Now Barton will come out in the first quarter, while Clawhammer will debut toward the end of the first quarter or early in the second quarter.

Bode dismissed theories that the delays stem from manufacturing problems at AMD's Dresden, Germany, plant or from AMD's silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, a manufacturing technique used to increase processor speed. Barton, before it was redesigned, was to contain SOI. The company took the the technology out, however, and now Clawhammer will be its first SOI chip.

"These are complex devices. As you go through the (design) schedule, you learn more about where you're at," Bode said. Hammer chips have "hit all the public milestones. I think it's obvious from those that the project itself is healthy."

In other news, the chipmaker announced hired Marty Seyer, the former CEO of Penguin Computing, as its new vice president for servers.