AMD outsells Intel in US retail for the first time

San Diego (CA) - AMD scored a major win against Intel during the back-to-school season. According to Current Analysis, AMD outsold Intel for the very first time in US retail over the period of a whole month. More than half of all computer systems US stores sold during September carried an AMD processor.

Aside its usual legal, marketing and PR battles against Intel, AMD surprised analysts with a unexpectedly strong performance in US retail. Tony Duboise, analyst with Current Analysis, said that the company was able to sometimes surpass Intel’s US retail sales in some weeks in the past, but the fact that it kept the lead over a whole month is unprecedented.

Duboise explained that AMD used a retail strategy that in the end worked out well : "This is a perfect example of being at the right place at the right time," she said. "AMD’s sizeable win in September can be attributed to a myriad of factors, one of the most impressive was being able to capitalize on the success of the most popular Media Center PC and find the consumer’s ’sweet spot’ on multiple product and pricing levels." AMD’s overall US retail market share reached 52 percent in September. Compared to Intel, AMD had placed its processors into "the right configurations," which offered consumers superior price-performance combinations. "They had some important design wins and were able to partner with the right OEM’s, Duboise said. Such design wins especially included Media Center PCs, which are gaining popularity quickly. In September, Media Center PCs accounted for 46 percent of all US retail desktop sales. Of those sales, 55 percent included an AMD-based processor, according to Duboise.

One of the contributing reasons to increasing Media Center PC sales is the decreasing price of such systems. While the average Media PC sold for $1261 in September 2004, the average price this year was $787 - with some systems reaching as low as $599, Duboise said. The star system of the Media Center movement and AMD’s success was the HP Pavilion a1130n. Running Microsoft’s Media Center OS and offering a 64-bit AMD Athlon 64 processor and 1 GByte of RAM for a post-rebate price of $679. The a1130n has become the best selling Media Center PC in retail to date, according to Current Analysis.

While AMD’s strategy has worked out, there are questions why Intel’s hasn’t. Some may argue that the recently reported chipset shortages impacted Intel’s ability to ship enough systems into retail. Duboise however believes that such shortage may have had just a minor or even no impact on back-to-school sales. According to her, retail systems have a 13-week lifecycle and most of the back-to-school system deals may have been reached before the initial chipset shortages occurred.

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