AMD gains as PC chip shipments hit record

Processor shipments hit a record in the fourth quarter as Apple sales jump.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Global PC processor unit shipments rose 31.3 percent year-to-year in the fourth quarter of 2009, a record, according to market researcher IDC. On Tuesday, Apple also reported robust unit shipments.

"Compared to (the fourth quarter of 2008), the huge rise in shipments indicates that the market has put the recession behind it," Shane Rau, director of semiconductors, personal computing research at IDC, said in a statement.

Though the sequential increase over the third quarter in 2009 was modest, that "indicates that the market is returning to normal seasonal patterns," Rau said.

For the full year 2009, total PC processor unit shipments grew 2.5 percent, while revenue declined 7.1 percent to $28.6 billion.


Both mobile PC processors and PC server processors grew robustly. Mobile chips, including Intel's popular Atom processors for Netbooks, increased 11.7 percent in the fourth quarter over the previous quarter. Server processor shipments grew 14.1 percent quarter over quarter, while desktop processors grew only 4.8 percent over the prior quarter.

Intel loses share to AMD
In the fourth quarter, Intel had a 80.5 percent unit market share, a loss of 0.6 percent, while AMD picked up a 19.4 percent share, a gain of 0.7 percent over the third quarter.

For the full year, Intel had a 79.7 percent share of the PC processor market, a loss of 0.7 percent, as AMD secured a 20.1 percent share, a gain of 0.8 percent.

By market, for the full year 2009, Intel had a 86.8 percent share in the mobile PC processor segment, a loss of 0.3 percent, while AMD finished with 12.8 percent, a gain of 0.7 percent.

In the server market, however, AMD lost ground for the full year. Intel ended up with an 89.9 percent share, up from 86.6 percent in 2008, as AMD slipped from 13.4 percent in 2008 to 10.1 percent in 2009.

Apple shipments surge
No doubt Apple is contributing to processor shipment growth. On Monday, Apple said global desktop Mac sales shot up 70 percent year-over-year to 1.2 million units in the fourth quarter, while MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro sales increased a robust 18 percent. Overall, Mac sales hit a record 3.36 million units in the quarter, beating the prior record by over 300,000.