The competition for market share among x86 processor vendors in the fourth quarter was largely a stalemate, but both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) profited from higher-selling prices, according to data from Mercury Research released Tuesday.
Intel slightly increased its substantial lead in the market for desktop, notebook, and server processors based on the x86 instruction set in the fourth quarter, boosting its share from 82.6 percent in the third quarter to 82.8 percent in the fourth, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst with Mercury Research. AMD's share fell by the same amount that Intel's rose, coming in at 15.5 percent in the fourth quarter, he said.
Intel and AMD's successes in the quarter were due to increases in the average selling prices of their chips, McCarron said. Intel's server business had a good quarter to account for its higher average prices, and AMD was able to take tighter control of its channel to increase average prices and post its first profit in nine quarters, he said.
Intel actually lost a little share compared to last year's fourth quarter, but that figure is misleading, McCarron said. AMD's market share last year was adversely affected by a poorly timed decision to increase inventories as processor demand waned, forcing the company to clear out a backlog of inventory and give up substantial market share, he said.
The shipment numbers do not include the processors Intel makes for Microsoft's Xbox gaming platform.