Microprocessor sales aided by Atom smasher

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A report from market research organization IDC said that unit shipments of microprocessors jumped by 23 percent in the third quarter, compared to Q2 2009.

Notebook processors led the pack with sales of Intel's Atom increasing by 35.7 percent in Q3, compared to Q2 2009. But desktop PC CPUs also rose by 11.4 percent, and X86 server processor sales rose by 12.2 percent quarter on quarter.

Intel AtomAccording to IDC, Intel owned 81.1 percent of the PC processor share worldwide, AMD owned 18.7 percent - down two percent, while Via had .2 percent of the market.

Sales of Atom chips meant "notable price erosion" by seven percent. So while market shipments rose, revenues grew less.

Shane Rau, director of the semiconductors unit at IDC, said: "Most meaningful about Q3 2009 is that since PC processor shipments overall just itself slightly exceeded shipmens in Q3 2009, the processor market is recovering."

IDc has now raised its forecast for PC processor shipment units to over 300 million units. But Rau is conservative about 2010. "The market's growth has been due to shipments of inexpensive Atom processors being sold into markets like China, which is being stimulated by government incentives there," he said.