PC chip shipments sink, Intel share up

Worldwide PC processor unit shipments declined 17 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to market researcher IDC, but Intel's Atom chip bucked the trend.

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

Worldwide PC processor shipments fell sharply in the fourth quarter of 2008, though Intel's Atom chip bucked the trend, according to new data from IDC.

In the fourth quarter, processor unit shipments declined 17 percent quarter over quarter and 11.4 percent year over year, while market revenue declined 18 percent over the previous quarter and 22.2 percent compared to the year-earlier period to $6.78 billion, IDC said.

"The decline in PC processor unit shipments in the fourth quarter was the worst sequential decline since IDC started tracking processor shipments in 1996," said Shane Rau, a chip analyst at IDC.


For the full year, total PC processor unit shipments grew 10 percent, while revenue grew 0.9 percent to $30.8 billion.

Intel's Atom processor is proving to be recession-proof. The popular Netbook chip prevented overall unit decline percentages from going above 20 percent. Without Atom, worldwide PC processor unit shipments would have been significantly worse: declining 21.7 percent quarter over quarter and 21.6 percent year over year, IDC said.

Intel grabbed an 81.9 percent unit market share in the fourth quarter, up 1.1 percentage points over the previous quarter. AMD fell to 17.7 percent, a loss of less than 1 percentage point. For the full year, Intel had an 80.3 percent unit market share, a gain of nearly 3 percentage points, while AMD's share dropped to 19.2 percent, a loss of 3.1 percentage points.

In 2008, Intel gained 4.8 percentage points in mobile PC processor market share, garnering 87.1 percent of the market. AMD finished with a 12.1 percent share of the mobile PC processor market, a loss of 5.3 percentage points.

Looking ahead, IDC said demand remains so weak that it expects sequential processor unit shipment to decline in both the first and second quarters of 2009.