Global Q4 PC Microprocessor Shipments Sluggish But Annual Totals Up

Researcher IDC reports flat year-over-year and sequential performance for Q4 2010 but yearly totals show 17 percent growth in shipments and 27 percent increase in revenue.

February 28, 2011

D.H. Kass

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Worldwide unit shipments of PC microprocessors slowed to a crawl in the fourth quarter of 2010 although for the year shipment totals climbed by 17 percent and revenue by 27 percent to $36.3 billion, according to researcher International Data Corp.

The researcher said that for Q4 2010, PC microprocessor shipments worldwide slid .21 percent when compared to the similar period last year and dipped .04 percent when stacked up to the previous quarter.

Average selling prices (ASP) for microprocessors rose 8 percent to approach levels last seen in two years ago, IDC said. The researcher called the segment’s Q4 2010 unit shipment performance “strange,” but also indicative of market recovery.

For Q4 2010, Intel Corp. remained the market share leader with nearly 81 percent of the segment, a .4 percent gain from the same period last year. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. held the second position at about 19 percent of the market, losing .4 percent share, while Via Technologies Inc. had about .3 percent share.

Full year totals mirrored that of the fourth quarter as Intel gained 1.1 percent to climb to an 81 percent share of the segment, followed by AMD at 19 percent, a 1.1 percent slide, and Via at .3 percent.

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

"The first half of the year turned out to be the better half of the year,” he said. “However, 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."

IDC said that it expects microprocessor unit shipments for mobile, desktop and x86 servers to rise by slightly more than 10 percent in 2011, prodded by business spending, although the growth of media tablets could retard the segment’s advance.

"Corporate spending continues to drive spending on server platforms and commercial clients," said Rau. "However, the affects of emerging devices, like media tablets, and economic concerns in Europe and the U.S., lead us to be conservative in our overall outlook."

IDC said that during 2010, mobile PC processor unit shipments rose by some 26 percent, x86 server processor shipments by 28 percent and desktop processor shipments by about 6 percent.

Mobile PC processor unit shipments comprised about 54 percent of all processors shipped in 2010, the researchers said.

TAGS: PC,Intel,AMD,IDC,microprocessor

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