Chip market falls off a cliff – worst decline in 12 years

12 Feb 2009

The global microprocessor market fell 17pc in the fourth quarter, in what has been its worst year since 1996. The damage would have been much worse, if not for the launch of Intel’s Atom processor for netbooks.

Intel’s Atom processor for mini-notebook PCs continued to make a notable difference in the overall market performance, but not enough to help the market avoid dramatic decline.

Without Atom, worldwide PC processor unit shipments declined 21.7pc in the fourth quarter and by 21.6pc year on year.

“The decline in PC processor unit shipments in the fourth quarter was the worst sequential decline since IDC started tracking processor shipments in 1996,” said Shane Rau, director of Semiconductors: Personal Computing Research at IDC.

“After hinting at a decline last September, the market fell of a cliff in October and November,” Rau said.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, Intel earned 81.9pc unit market share, a gain of 1.1pc, while AMD earned 17.7pc, a loss of 0.9pc, and VIA Technologies earned 0.4pc.

By John Kennedy