Michael Kanellos and Tom Krazit at CNET have the story which is aptly titled Strike Three for Intel:
AMD’s surge can be seen most strongly in the U.S. retail market, which accounts for about 9 percent of global PC shipments. In the first seven weeks of 2006, AMD’s share in desktops in that area climbed to 81.5 percent, while Intel’s has slid to 18.5 percent, Baker said. That’s almost a complete reversal of their typical relative positions.
In notebooks, Intel’s share has declined to 63 percent, even though (NPD Techworld analyst Steve) Baker and others generally agree that Intel enjoys a technological advantage in laptops.
Just to be clear, this is only sales in US retail stores which excludes direct PC vendors like market leader Dell, which is exclusively an Intel shop, but it’s still a stunner. Hit the article for some analysis, but a key factor seems to be pricing and AMD relationship building. AMD is gaining share in servers as well.
It likely makes little difference to Microsoft whether Intel or AMD is leading, although it undoubtedly gives them more leverage in their dealings with Intel. There’s one area though where all three are getting hit and that’s 64-bit:
It looks like the world isn’t clamoring for 64-bit desktops just yet.
Nearly two and a half years have passed since 64-bit processors started going into PCs. But the software to take full advantage of these chips remains scarce, and customers aren’t buying much of what’s out there.
The dearth can be seen in a lot of ways. Microsoft released a 64-bit version of Windows for desktops last May, but has sold few copies, according to analysts.
Instead, most PC makers and software developers will wait until Vista, the next version of Windows
“There is just not enough driver support for 64-bit Windows,” said Rahul Sood, president of VoodooPC. “We don’t offer it. We are waiting for Vista.”
The slow emergence of a 64-bit ecosystem also means that those consumers who bought 64-bit systems in the past few years to “future proof” themselves against a software conversion really didn’t. By the time Vista comes out, those early 64-bit computers will be 3 years old, closing in on the typical four-year replacement cycle.
There’s more analysis in the article, but lack of driver support is always the kiss of death. If the drivers were there, you could make a case for running 32-bit apps on the 64-bit operating system in compatibility mode. Instead, most folks are running the 64-bit processor in 32-bit legacy mode.