IDC: Intel X86 market share dropping

IDC has revealed its third-quarter figures for the x86 CPU market, showing that Intel is being pecked to death by its smaller competitors.

While Intel remains the largest player in the x86 CPU market by far, with a whopping 80.4 per cent, it's had a disappointing quarter in terms of market share - in Q2 2010 it enjoyed an 80.7 per cent market share.

That loss has been due to increasing competition from long-term rival AMD, which has seen its market share rise to 19.2 per cent compared to the previous quarter - a jump of 0.2 per cent - while low-power specialist VIA managed a 0.1 per cent increase from the last quarter to market share of 0.1 per cent.

Detailed figures from the quarter show that Intel remains an overwhelmingly popular choice in the server and workstation market, with the company's products earning it a whopping 93.7 per cent market share. Laptops were a different story, with the company dropping its share to 85.9 per cent, while increasing interest in AMD processors in desktop machines saw Intel's share drop to 71.8 per cent.

The gains and losses are set against a background of overall weak market demand, with IDC's Shane Rau claiming: "OEMs have become very reactive to any hint of slackening end demand. And, when they cut their PC build orders, like they did in late 2Q10 and the first half of 3Q10, not only did they cut their processor orders, they caused their contract manufacturers to cut orders for commodity components. The whole supply chain is skittish."

Rau went on to claim that things will pick up in 2011, following the launch of Intel's Sandy Bridge and AMD's Fusion APU lines, stating: "Even though the consumer segment will remain stalled in developed regions, IT executives will see PC upgrades as a priority over the next 12 months which should result in double-digit growth in PC systems and PC processors units next year."

While it's clear that Intel rules the x86 roost, its small losses could spell trouble if Sandy Bridge fails to excite the market - or if AMD's hybrid Fusion line delivers on its promises of high-performance GPU and CPU technology in a single low-power silicon die.