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Intel, AMD market shares remain stable

Both chipmakers enjoy somewhat strong sales in the first half of the fiscal quarter, as their portions of the market stay about the same.

Intel and Advanced Micro Devices both enjoyed somewhat strong sales in the first half of the fiscal quarter, as their respective market shares stayed about the same.

Intel accounted for 83.6 percent of the so-called x86-processor market in the first quarter, while AMD held 14.9 percent of the market, according to figures from Mercury Research.

In the fourth quarter, Intel had 83.7 percent of the market, while AMD had 14.7 percent. The remaining 1.5 percent of the market belongs to Via Technologies and Transmeta.

'There wasn't a whole lot of movement," said Mercury's Dean McCarron. The small increase for AMD likely comes because of a slight upward trend in white-box PCs, desktops, servers and laptops from integrators and regional manufacturers.

"This segment accounts for most of AMD sales and part of Intel's sales," McCarron said. AMD also enjoyed an increase in its average selling prices.

AMD saw a slight increase in the server market, but Intel continues to account for the overwhelming number of chips in this market. X86 processors like the Pentium and Opteron account for the vast majority of chips sold in the world. Mercury's figures do not include processors sold in machines from Apple Computer (which account for less than 3 percent of computers sold worldwide).

The figures, however, do include sales of chips for Microsoft's Xbox. Intel won the exclusive right over AMD to supply chips to the game console, but the number is declining, McCarron said. Microsoft is also planning to get rid of Intel's chip in favor of one designed in conjunction with IBM in the next version of the Xbox. Excluding Xbox sales has typically moved Intel's share down by a percentage point or so in previous quarters.

Graphic artists
Meanwhile, Jon Peddie Research, a different analyst firm, released on Monday market share figures for the PC graphics market. Intel expanded its lead in PC graphics, rising from 31.7 percent of the market in the fourth quarter of 2003 to 33 percent in the first quarter of 2004.

Nvidia saw its market share increase from 24.7 percent to 27 percent in the same period of time. ATI Technologies, by contrast, saw its market share decline from 25.2 percent to 24 percent.

Intel and Nvidia could see their market shares increase further with sales of upcoming products with improved graphics.

Intel's history in this market is an unusual one. In the late 1990s, the company bought Chips and Technologies and entered into alliances with other manufacturers to make its own graphics chips. After delays and millions of dollars, the company released its first stand-alone graphics chips in 1998. They failed to sell, and Intel subsequently left the market.

But while it gave up stand-alone graphics, it continued to integrate graphics functionality in its chipsets. The popularity and low cost of these chipsets has put them on top of the market. Although it does not make stand-alone graphics chips for PCs, it will come out with a stand-alone graphics chip for handhelds called Carbonado later this year.