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By | Chris Mellor 11th February 2009 14:02

IDC confirms PC chip sales have fallen off a cliff

Only Intel's Atom offers any warmth

PC and microprocessor shipments dived into the depths in the last quarter of 2008, IDC reports, with the first quarter of 2009 already looking bleak.

IDC's survey of recent worldwide microprocessor shipments holds few surprises, confirming a mostly negative picture.

The last quarter of 2008 saw a 17 per cent decline in shipments compared to Q3, and an 11.4 per cent fall compared to Q4 2007. The associated revenue number for Q4 declined 18 per cent sequentially and 22.2 per cent year-on-year to $6.78bn.

Intel's Atom netbook chip helped stave off a worse decline. Taking it out of the equation world-wide MPC shipments fell 21.7 per cent in Q4 2008 compared to Q3, and 21.6 per cent compared to Q4 2007. That was good news for Intel as it demonstrated its ability to increase its market share in the fast-growing netbook market.

This general ability was also demonstrated at AMD's expense as Intel's proportion of Q4 2008 unit ships was 81.3 per cent (Q4 07 - 76.7 per cent) while AMD's was 17.7 per cent (Q4 07 - 23.1 per cent).

With Intel gambling on a move to 32nm process fabs Chipzilla is giving its competitors a lesson in paranoid agility and cash strength.

Shane Rau, IDC's director of Personal Computing research, said: "The decline in PC processor unit shipments in the fourth quarter was the worst sequential decline since IDC started tracking processor shipments in 1996. After hinting at a decline last September, the market fell of a cliff in October and November." This was due to a precipitous drop in end system demand that quickly moved up the PC supply chain through OEMs and contract manufacturers to the processor vendors.

Yes, and it's still falling.

IDC reckons demand remains so weak that it expects sequential processor unit shipments to decline in both this first quarter of 2009 and the next. To confirm the gloom read IDC's forthcoming report, WorldwidePC Processor 4Q08 Vendor Shares/(Doc #216748). You know it will be bad. ®

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