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Shift To Smartphones Resulted In Global PC Microprocessor Shipments Falling:IDC

There is a slow and steady shift in usage from PCs towards smartphones and this has resulted in a marginal fall in PC microprocessors, according to analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC)'s latest report on global microprocessor shipments.

During 2010, mobile PC processor unit shipments soared up 26.2%, compared to 6.2% growth of desktop processor unit shipments and x86 server processor unit shipments grew 28.1%. Mobile PC processors now represent 54.1% of all processors being shipped in the world, up from 50.2% in 2009.

And this has resulted in a fall, albeit a marginal one, in the number of PC microprocessors being shipped in the last quarter of 2010 (October-November-December). According to IDC's report, it was down 0.04% quarter-over-quarter and 0.21% when compared to the same quarter in the 2009.

"The fourth quarter was weak and out of synch with normal seasonal patterns in terms of unit shipments," said Shane Rau, director of Semiconductors, Personal Computing research, IDC.

"Looking back at the whole year 2010, it's clear that the ongoing shift to mobile processors, combined with a shift back towards high-performance mobile processors, as opposed to Atom processors for netbooks, drove a significant rise in overall processor average selling prices." Netbooks are tiny notebooks that run on mobile processors such as Intel's Atom.

IDC noted that this has resulted in the industry average selling price (ASP) for microprocessors rising 8% in 2010, approaching the levels last seen in 2008. Worldwide PC microprocessor unit shipments grew 17.1% over 2009, while revenue from sales increased 26.7% to $36.3 billion.

Terming it strange year in terms of shipment patterns, the analyst firm is now projecting a conservative outlook for the next year. "The effect of emerging devices like media tablets, and economic concerns in Europe and U.S.A lead us to be conservative in our overall outlook," said Rau.

Market Share

In the fourth quarter of 2010, Intel had an 86.1% share in the mobile PC processor segment, AMD finished the year at 13.5% while in the PC server/workstation processor segment, Intel was at 94.2% market share, and AMD at 5.8%. In the desktop PC processor segment, Intel has a 72.5% market share and AMD is at 27.3%.

In PC chips segment, Intel led with a 80.7% market share (by units shipped) and AMD was at 19% followed by VIA Technologies at 0.3%.

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