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AMD tumbles in 2010 processor market share

Intel’s lead over AMD grew larger last year, total CPU revenue to increase due to rise of tablets and other mobile devices

Intel has almost always been in the lead in terms of CPU recognition and sales, but the global sales gap between the top two microprocessor manufacturers Intel and AMD actually grew larger during 2010 when compared to 2009.

The latest research numbers from analytic firm IHS iSuppli show an 81% share of global CPU revenue for Intel in 2010, up 0.4% from the previous year, while AMD fell by 0.8% and ended at 11.4% total. For Q4 2010, AMD slipped even further in revenue, with a 12.2% decline compared to Q4 2009.

AMD may see a slight bump in its CPU sales this year, however, due to the short lived Sandy Bridge debacle that had some computer manufacturers scrambling a couple months back. Regardless, the company is betting high on its new Fusion APUs, which aim to provide improved graphics with high power efficiency. However, currently only the low end Fusion APUs are on the market and can compete with the low-power / low-price Intel Atom processors.

All is not gloomy for the CPU industry, however, as total revenue in 2010 was as much as $40 billion, up 25% from 2009. iSuppli attributes the massive increase to the advent of tablets and the significant changes the tablet market can cause. Whereas tablet shipments were virtually zero in 2009, the following year saw over 17 million tablets, with Apple’s iPad as the forerunner. The new market opened up significant opportunities for CPU manufacturers to promote and sell their respective processors.

Additionally, GEMs continue to be a growing presence in the microprocessor market due to the need for power efficient processors for the growing mobile market. In fact, GEMs were responsible for over one-third of all microprocessor shipments for laptops and PCs in 2010, according to eWeek. With even more tablets and mobile devices shipping this year, 2011 could very well continue this trend, assuming they don’t interfere with notebook sales, that is.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-03-28 (Update: 2012-05-26)