Intel bolsters Q3 shipment market share lead over AMD

Amid a solid third quarter for both companies, Intel managed to increase its market share at the expense of rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), according to data from Mercury Research.

Intel shipped 82.6 percent of the desktop, notebook, and server processors based on the x86 instruction set in the third quarter, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst with Mercury Research in Cave Creek, Arizona. AMD shipped 15.8 percent of those processors, he said.

In the second quarter of this year, Intel shipped 81.4 percent and AMD shipped 16.6 percent.

Both companies spoke of improved shipments during their third-quarter financial conference calls, with Intel breaking its own record for processor shipments. Intel is better positioned to take advantage of an increase in shipments than AMD, McCarron said.

"Intel benefits more from the market upside, and is more insulated against the downside," McCarron said.

Compared to last year's quarter, AMD gained ground and Intel lost position. But AMD deliberately held back on production in last year's third quarter to clear out downstream inventory built up during the second quarter, when it shipped a surplus of processors in hopes of a chip turnaround that never materialized.

Therefore, AMD's third-quarter 2002 results didn't provide an accurate picture of the company's market share, and can't be meaningfully compared against this year's third quarter, McCarron said.

Intel strengthened its efforts to capture market share in emerging markets around the world, which played a role in the company's improved market share, McCarron said.

Shipments of notebook processors also posted strong increases in the third quarter, a segment in which Intel's advantage over AMD is even more pronounced. Mobile processors represented 19.5 percent of all shipments in the third quarter, up from 17.6 percent in last year's third quarter, McCarron said.

The market share numbers do not include processors that Intel makes for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox gaming console, McCarron said. That relationship appears to be on the rocks after Microsoft and IBM Corp.'s announcement Monday that the processor in the next version of the Xbox will be based on IBM's latest processor technology.

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