Intel has strengthened its grip on the microprocessor market, despite the struggling netbook market experiencing a sharp fall in sales of its Atom chips.

The latest data from iSuppli shows that the firm accounted for 83.7 per cent of global microprocessor revenue in the third quarter of 2011.

This is up 1.2 percentage points from figures in the previous three-month period, and extends its lead of nearest challenger AMD to 73.5 percentage points, up from the 72 per cent observed in the second quarter.

Chips for netbooks enjoyed double-digit growth from 2008 to 2010, but the rise of the tablet has prompted a significant decline in netbook purchases, and thus demand for the Atom chip Intel produces to service them.

However, companies don't get to where Intel has without being prepared for such trends, and the firm has enjoyed strong growth in other areas to make up for the reduced demand for Atoms.

"The boom in media tablet sales has packed both upsides and downsides for Intel - hurting its business in netbook microprocessors - but boosting its sales of chips used in data centres to support cloud computing," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at iSuppli.

It is the broad commitment to both consumer and business products that helps Intel weather the storms and continue to grow, Mr Wilkins explained.

"Even with the company warning that its fourth-quarter revenue will fall short of expectations, the company still is expected to expand its lead in the global semiconductor market based on its strong performance in the third quarter and the rest of the year," he added.

However, AMD is looking to make its own gains in the market with its new high-powered A-Series range of dual- and quad-core processors, released this week.
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