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Thanks to rather substantial increase in sales of central processing units aimed at notebooks, Intel Corp. managed to boost its market share to the highest level in three years, whereas Advanced Micro Devices could not sustain its share despite of the successful launch of code-named Puma mobile computer platform.

Mercury Research, a market tracking company, has released its findings for Q3 2008, according to which Intel’s market increased to rather unprecedented, at least in the recent years, 81.2%, whereas shares of AMD and Via Technologies dropped to 17.7% and 1.1%, respectively. It was Q3 2005 when AMD commanded 17.7% of the market of central processing units (CPUs), whereas Intel’s market share was 80.8%.

It is important to note that Q3 2008 was the first quarter when shipments of microprocessors for mobile applications exceeded shipments of desktop CPUs. This may be partly explained with the substantial increase in netbook popularity and increase in shipments of microprocessors aimed at ultra low-cost personal computers (ULCPCs), such as Intel Atom or Intel Celeron M. However, the main problem for AMD, which lost 1% of the market, is relatively narrow mobile products family.

“AMD’s share decline was essentially due to their comparatively weaker mobile mix – the market moved strongly to mobile, and Intel having a larger share and mix benefited more, diluting AMD's position. [In other words], AMD lost share because Intel grew more,” said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research, in an interview with PC Magazine web-site.

Despite of losses in the mobile, AMD managed to get “modest” market share increase in servers, which is a particularly good news for the Sunnyvale, California-based since server microprocessors are sold at significant price premium over desktop or mobile chips.

In overall, the CPU market rose 13.3% year over year, according to Mercury. Shipments of microprocessors for mobile computers increased 27%.

Since the financial crisis only began in September, the results of the quarter were not generally impacted, although the research firm claims that slowdown in certain market segments became evident already in September.

“The market in the third quarter did not appear to be impacted by the turmoil in the financial markets, though a number of our sources indicated a significant market slowing started in September,” said McCarron.

“We’re starting to see a weakening in servers already. My own forecast is pretty pessimistic about the overall market in the fourth quarter, so I would say I expect the impact right now, and it’ll show up in the [fourth-quarter] results in January,” the analyst added in a brief interview with eWeek web-site.

Tags: AMD, , Intel, Via

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