Business, Hardware

X86 Market Stays Flat in First Quarter 2011


According to x86 processor market share numbers released by Mercury Research, the respective shares of Intel and AMD have remained mostly flat in the first quarter of 2011. This boils down to Intel holding 81% of the market, while AMD commands 18.2%.

Compared to previous quarters, the numbers only changed slightly. In 1Q 2010 Intel held 81.2%, while AMD reigned in at 18.1%. VIAs share rised slightly from 0.7% in 1Q 2010 to 0.9% in 1Q 2011. Note that due to rounding the numbers sum up to 100.1%. According to Mercury Reasearch, the numbers have been solid, but it needs to be considered that in 2011, the first quarter was one week longer than usual. As a consequence the second quarter will be shorter by a week which will likewise affect numbers a little bit. Other than that the prospect for second quarter 2011 is in line with seasonal expectations.

When looking at revenue, first quarter 2011 saw a rise of 1.1%. Usually a seasonal decline of 8.6% would be expected says the research firm. If the first quarter would be normalized to 13 weeks, a decline of 6.2% can be observed ? still better than usual. When looking at unit shipments, a 7.2% increase could be observed ? though again in a normalized quarter it would be down 0.4%. While desktop and notebook shipments were up, servers declined. The average selling price (ASP) for CPUs rose to $101 which is the highest figure since 2008.

Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron remarks "This is the third quarter in a row of significantly below normal year-on-year growth," and continues "However, the decline in the yearly comparable growth appears to have stopped this quarter, hinting at a possible resumption of on-year growth in the coming quarters of 2011."

Both Intel and AMD started offering new products from the CES exhibition onwards. Intel expanded it’s notebook, desktop and entry-level server offerings by CPUs based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture as well as high-end servers refreshed previous generation chips. It should be noted that some of Intels sales could have been held back by the disastrous chipset bug which resulted in a temporary production stop and partial recall of products utilizing more than two SATA ports. The whole incident cost Intel $1 billion. AMD launched the entry-level models of their Fusion APU aimed at netbooks.

Stay tuned for the second quarter where major product launches of AMD in the form of the long-awaited CPU microarchitecture dubbed Bulldozer as well as the mainstream APU Llano are expected to hit the market. Especially Llano should be "widely available in the present quarter" according to a statement issued by AMDs iterim CEO Thomas Seifert recently at the recent first quarter 2011 earnings call.