AMD grabs Intel market share in desktop arena

US retail sales turn away from chip giant

AMD is increasingly out-selling Intel in the US desktop PC retail arena, and the pattern of sales throughout 2004 suggests it's going to be doing so rather more frequently than it has in the past.

That's the clear conclusion of the latest research numbers from market watcher Current Analysis (CA), which this week released the results of its study from January through August.

AMD vs Intel US retail desktop sales

AMD-based desktops first outsold Intel-based machines this year in the week ending 24 April 2004 - the first time they have done so for some years. AMD went on to lead the market on five further occasions since then.

As CA's graph shows, Intel desktop sales have been trending downward throughout the year. Correspondingly, AMD desktop sales have been rising. It's too early to say for sure that AMD will build a significant lead over its rival, but if it maintains this momentum, it will certainly continue to outsell Intel far more frequently than it has to date. Most likely, we'll see the two companies take just under half the market each - the remainder going to Apple - with the two x86 players jostling for a slight lead over the other on a week-by-week basis.

It's important to point out that the numbers refer to desktop sales. Intel dominates the notebook sector, which is taking an ever larger chunk of the overall PC market, keeping the chip giant well ahead of its arch-rival for the time being. Equally, Intel continues to outsell AMD by a very healthy margin in the non-retail segments, primarily because of its strength in the corporate and business sectors - and, of course, market leader Dell's current 'Intel only' policy.

However, Toni Duboise, CA's senior desktop PC analyst said: "Although desktops are certainly facing diminished share in light of accelerated notebook success, desktops still represent a majority of total retail PC sales and do not show signs of vanishing from the market any time soon.

"Intel is not in danger of losing its CPU crown... [but] the fact that AMD can challenge Intel -even within the restrictive group of retail desktop sales- speaks volumes for the chip underdog."

She added: "As long as Intel continues to place more emphasis on the more lucrative and successful notebook market, it leaves the door open for AMD's desktop wins."

Duboise believes AMD's Sempron will further drive AMD's strength in the retail desktop arena. We'd add that a greater presence here may well help the company gain mind share that leads to increase business sales too. ®

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