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Intel remains dominant in the chip market

Having counted all its chips, research outfit IHS iSuppli has confirmed that, according to its reckoning, Intel increased its dominance of the microprocessor industry in 2010, adding 0.4 percentage points to command an 81.0 per cent share of global general-purpose microprocessor revenue.

Advanced Micro Devices clung on to second spot with a 11.4 per cent share, down 0.8 points from 12.2 per cent in 2009.

"The competitive state of affairs remained very much the same two-horse race it has been for more than 20 years, with Intel firmly in the lead and AMD a distant second," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms, for IHS. This was despite various developments such at the rise of the tablet computer and the emergence of what it calls graphics-enabled microprocessors (GEMs), or what AMD calls APUs.

IHS said it thinks unit shipments of media tablets soared to 17.4 million in 2010, up from zero in 2009, with levels expected to grow to more than 240 million units in 2015. This may represent the biggest change the industry has seen for some while, with the Apple-designed, Samsung-built non-X86 chip at the heart of the iPad

Chip revenue from this market segment represents, "a significant opportunity not just for suppliers such as Samsung, which is already present in the fledgling tablet market, but also for PC processor incumbents AMD and Intel," the firm wrote.

The firm also notes that PC microprocessor technology underwent a "fundamental change" in 2010, with graphics-enabled microprocessors snaffling more than one-third of total microprocessor shipments for notebook and desktop PCs in 2010, according to the firm's estimates.