To the average Joe, it might seem as though the knock-down, drag-out battles between AMD
have slowed to what amounts to a thumb wrestling match by comparison, but market research firm iSuppli
sees things a different way. According to iSuppli, even though both Intel and AMD maintained their market share positions in the global microprocessor business so far in 2010, this only reflects "intense competition" among the world's two top chip makers.
"The static market share situation might suggest that the second quarter was an uneventful quarter in terms of the competition between the two dominant microprocessor suppliers of Intel and AMD," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at iSuppli. "However, with the market undergoing rapid growth and fast technological development, the fact that the companies have largely retained their positions indicates they are competing furiously for every tenth of a point of market share
We bolded the main point for emphasis, though we hardly need to. According to iSuppli's numbers, Intel's microprocessor market share barely budged from Q1 to Q2 of this year, rising slightly from 80.3 percent to 80.4 percent. AMD, meanwhile, dropped a partial percentage point from 11.7 percent in Q1 to 11.52 percent in Q2.
By themselves the numbers are pretty boring and tell the same story -- Intel dominates the CPU market and AMD is a distant second. But as iSuppli points out, the minor blips underscore just how intense the battle for market share has become.
Look around and you'll see this play out in the retail market. Every time AMD or Intel release a new processor, the other follows suit, or slashes prices for existing parts to steal the other one's thunder. AMD's affordably priced hexa-core chips, for example, undoubtedly played a part in Intel's decision to recently cut the price of its Core i7 950 processor by 50 percent, which now streets for around $300. The same thing happens at the lower end, too.
"While market and technology conditions have changed dramatically during the past 12 months, the high level of competition between Intel and AMD has not," Wilkins noted. "As circumstances continue to evolve in the second half of 2010, expect these two companies to maintain their epic competitive struggle."