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5/5/2011
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PC Chip Sales To Soar 17.6%

Chip makers this year are expected to ship 10.3% more PC microprocessors than a year ago, according to IDC.

Worldwide shipments of PC microprocessors are expected to surge by 10.3% this year, and market revenue is expected to grow 17.6% to nearly $43 billion, according to market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC).

IDC's Worldwide PC Microprocessor 1Q11 report revealed that worldwide processor shipments in the first quarter of 2011 grew by 1.6% from the fourth quarter of 2010 and was up 7.4% from the same quarter a year ago. Because of the strong quarter, IDC increased its yearly growth forecast for PC microprocessor units (mobile, desktop, x86 server) in 2011 from 10.1% to 10.3%. In all, IDC predicted that nearly 415 million processors will be shipped in 2011.

The increase in processor shipments is representative of a global economic recovery said Shane Rau, director of PC semiconductors at IDC, in an interview. "PC processors are benefiting from a generally good economic environment worldwide," Rau said. "While there are some pockets of concern in Japan and Europe, overall there are good signs of market growth that is driving the demand for PCs and PC microprocessors."

The fact that semiconductor revenue is growing faster than units is emblematic of the introduction of Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors, and AMD Fusion processors, which are expected to drop in price in the months ahead, Rau said.

Intel continued its dominance during the first quarter of 2011, with an 80.8% unit market share, while AMD earned 18.9%. Those were nearly identical market shares reported in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In the mobile PC processor segment for the 1Q 2011, Intel had an 86% market share, a gain of 0.2%, while AMD finished with 13.4%, a loss of 0.1%. VIA earned 0.3%. Intel held a 93.9% market share in the PC server/workstation processor segment, with a loss of 0.3%, and AMD earned 6.1%, a gain of 0.3%.

In the desktop PC processor segment, Intel a market share of 72.4%, a loss of 0.1%, and AMD had 27.4%, a gain of 0.1%.

The study did not include processors designed for tablet computers.

This is the first time IDC has begun to categorize PC microprocessors by architecture, including those based on x86 and those based on ARM. This development is based on projections by IDC that more than 13% of PC processors will be based on the ARM architecture by 2015.

"My forecast about PC processors touches on ARM's potential entry into the PC processor space, which will become larger in view of Microsoft's decision to support ARM architecture in the next version of Windows," Rau said. "The flipside of this is with Intel's new technology, the 22-nanometer 3-D chip , will enable them to penetrate smartphones, the traditional areas of ARM-based processors.

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