The slowdown in notebook and desktop PC sales isn't a problem just for device manufacturers. Hardware component makers and chipset manufacturers have also begun to feel the heat of the slowdown. To compound the problems, strong growth in mobile processors for smartphones and tablet PCs is lowering the market share of giants like Intel and AMD.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) slipped down to fourth place in microprocessor sales in 2012 from second spot, which the company had occupied since the 1990s, according to a new ranking of (multi-core processing unit) MPU suppliers by IC Insights. Overtaking AMD in the 2012 microprocessor ranking were Qualcomm, the leading maker of mobile chipsets, and Samsung, which in addition to the ARM-based processors used in its Galaxy line of phones, is the sole foundry source for Apple’s custom-designed chip used in iPads and iPhones.

Qualcomm and Samsung have climbed up in the rankings

Qualcomm and Samsung have climbed up in the rankings

Sales of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon system-on-chip (SoC) processors increased by 28 percent in 2012 to $5.3 billion, increasing its market share to 9.4 percent and moving it to second place. Samsung moved to third place with a 78 percent increase in MPU sales. Interestingly, about 83 percent of Samsung’s $4.7 billion MPU revenue came from Apple’s processors. AMD’s share of microprocessor sales fell to 6.4 percent in 2012, a drop of 1.8 percent in comparison to the 2011 figures.

The new top 10 MPU list is still headed by Intel, but the company’s market share has fallen. But leading suppliers of mobile processors based on ARM architecture are moving higher in the rankings. Among the top t10 companies, only Intel and AMD sell x86-based CPUs for standard notebook and desktop PCs. The remaining eight develop and sell mobile MPUs. Intel remained the dominant leader in microprocessor sales, but its share slipped to 65.3 percent of the MPU market in 2012 compared to 67.3 percent in 2011.

The report further says that between 2012 and 2017, total MPU sales is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent, reaching $97.7 billion in 2017.

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