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PC Processor Shipments Plummet

PC processors shipments in the fourth quarter experienced the biggest sequential decline in 13 years.

Worldwide PC microprocessor unit shipments fell 17 percent compared with the preceding quarter, according to IDC. Market revenue dropped 18 percent from the preceding quarter and 22.2 percent from 2007 to $6.78 billion.

Shane Rau, IDC's director of semiconductors, personal computing research, said in a release that the decline in PC processor unit shipments 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.''

The semiconductor segment in the first half is likely to continue to suffer with no relief until this summer, IDC said.

The IDC report noted that Intel's Atom processor for mini-notebook PCs (''Netbooks'') made some impact on the overall market performance, but not enough to help the market avoid notable decline. Without Atom, worldwide PC processor unit shipments declined 21.7 percent from the preceding quarter and 21.6 percent compared with the year ago period.

In the fourth quarter, Intel gained a small amount of marketshare (1.1 percent), bringing it up to 81.9 percent, compared with AMD's 17.7 percent (down 0.9 percent) and VIA Technologies' 0.4 percent.

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