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Worldwide PC Processor Shipments Growth

Worldwide PC microprocessor shipments grew 8.5 percent sequentially in the fourth calendar quarter of 2007 (4Q07) to reach record levels for the second quarter in a row, according to new data from IDC.

Growth in overall unit shipments and stable average selling prices stimulated overall market revenue to grow 9.6 percent sequentially to $8.7 billion.

Shipments of processors designed for PC servers stood out in the quarter, growing 17.0 percent sequentially. Shipments of processors for mobile PCs grew 10.3 percent, while processors for desktop PCs grew 6.5 percent.

IDC analysis also reveals that, within each form factor, the percentage of high-end and mainstream processors grew at the expense of low-end processors. For example, in the desktop processor segment, high-end and mainstream processors represented 87.1 percent of processors shipped in 4Q07, up from 84.6 percent in 3Q07.

"Overall market pricing was very stable in the quarter," said Shane Rau, director of Semiconductors, Personal Computing research at IDC.

Since server and mobile processors carry a premium over desktop processors and they grew more than desktop processors, they buoyed the market average price. The fact that the high-end and mainstream segments within all form factor segments grew faster than the value segments kept pricing even firmer.

IDC attributes this result to the aggressive pricing at which suppliers introduced new products in 2Q07 combined with the demand for more robust PC configurations necessary to support Windows Vista. As the year progressed into 4Q07, the pricing drew in more buyers who wanted these relatively high-end products to support this operating system.

For the full year 2007, total worldwide PC processor shipments grew 12.6 percent compared to 2006. Total revenues grew 1.7 percent to $30.55 billion. The disparity of unit growth and revenue growth indicates the degree of price erosion that occurred early in the year 2007.

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