Aided by a recovery in the PC market and by strong shipments of its new Sandy Bridge chips, Intel in the second quarter expanded its lead in the global microprocessor market compared to a year earlier, according to the latest IHS research.
Intel in the second quarter accounted for 81.8 percent of global microprocessor revenue, up 1.1 percentage points from 80.7 percent in the second quarter of 2010. Intel's rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) suffered a corresponding 1.1 percentage point decrease in share during the same period.
"Intel in the second quarter benefited from the combination of a recovery in PC demand and strong shipment growth for its new Sandy Bridge line of microprocessors," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at IHS. "Strong corporate PC sales were particularly beneficial to Intel, as the enterprise computing segment has been outperforming the consumer market."
After contracting on a sequential and annual basis during the first three months of the year, the global PC market returned to growth in the second quarter, with total shipments of 85.6 million units, up 3.7 percent from 82.6 million during the same period in 2010, IHS found.
PC sales were propelled by strong demand from corporate information technology (IT) departments, which now are engaging in efforts to refresh their hardware. In contrast, consumer PC demand was weak because of rising competition from tablets and due to increasing economic concerns. This benefited Intel, which derives a greater proportion of its microprocessor revenues from the corporate market.
Meanwhile, Intel also aggressively increased production of its Sandy Bridge line of microprocessors, helping to expand its market share. The company described its production increases for the microprocessor as the fastest ramp-up of any product in the company's history.
AMD's second-quarter performance appears better when using a sequential comparison, IHS said.
AMD's share of the microprocessor revenue in the second quarter rose to 10.4 percent, up 0.3 percent from 10.1 percent in the first quarter. This compares to Intel's 0.7 percentage point decline from 82.6 percent in the first quarter.
AMD's strong increase in shipments of its Fusion microprocessors helped the company to halt the sequential decrease in shipments that it has suffered for the last three quarters.
"AMD's results were powered up by Fusion microprocessors, which delivers improved computational performance. It also provides PCs with DirectX 11 graphics capability without the need for a discrete graphics card," Wilkins said.