RealTime IT News

IDC: Chip Sector Rebound Not What it Seems

Second quarter 2009 worldwide PC microprocessor shipments rose 10.1 percent over the first quarter, according to a just-released IDC report, yet another sign of recovery for the battered chip sector, although it's still got a ways to go.

The 10.1 percent recovery is certainly better than the 10.9 percent fall from Q4 2008 to Q1 09, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Unit shipments declined 7.0 percent from the second quarter of 2008 and revenue declined 15.3 percent year over year, indicating continued pressure on average selling prices (ASPs).

Much of what has been going on in the last two quarters has been rebalancing of inventories between manufacturers, suppliers and system builders. Sales stopped dead in the fourth quarter, forcing companies to stop manufacturing product. Throughout Q1, inventory was slowly drained from the channel and Q2 was marked by restocking of depleted inventory.

The biggest mover of the quarter was shipments of Atom processors, which increased 34 percent from Q1 to Q2 of 2009. IDC estimates that the Atom processor sales represented 25 percent of Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC) mobile PC processor shipments in Q2 09 and 8.1 percent of Intel's mobile PC processor revenues for the same quarter.

Shane Rau, director of semiconductors for personal computing research at IDC says that the flatness of AMD (NYSE: AMD) sales and that Intel's revenue from Asia/Pacific, where the vast majority of PCs are built, grew from 51 percent in Q1 09 to 55 percent in Q2 09 indicates a broad-based recovery has not yet begun.

"We feel that the supply chain replenishment of inventories in late Q1 and early Q2 is what drove a lot of sales," he told InternetNews.com. "Any idea that there was a recovery in the economy this quarter is belied by the fact that the growth came from Intel. Now, Intel can certainly drive a market, but the isolation to Intel, Atom, and in Asia seems pretty focused."

Intel bounces back

In Q1, AMD made some big gains on Intel, but this past quarter showed an Intel recovery. Its overall PC shipments grew 12.5 percent from Q1 to Q2 while AMD was up just 1.8 percent. More important, Intel's overall worldwide marketshare went from 77.3 percent in Q1 to 78.9 percent, while AMD slipped from 22.3 percent to 20.6 percent.

Next page: A steady stream of new products from AMD