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Is There Room For More Players In The Global Microprocessor Market?

Is There Room For More Players In The Global Microprocessor Market?

Sameer Balaganur

Microprocessors, especially with the advent of artificial intelligence, have become an essential part of the technology. These microprocessors have found their applications in data centres, the automotive sector, IoT systems and client devices, among many others. As a result, many new companies have started to target this market which achieved the figure $4 billion in chip revenue in 2018.

Microprocessors in this era have found their applications in artificial intelligence and have been mainly used in an attempt to accelerate the deep learning applications. For example, NVIDIA Drive, used in Tesla’s self-driving cars has instructional sets that accelerate the neural network to 8TFLOPs.This rapid adoption of deep learning has led to many vendors to up their game to satisfy such a wide range of applications and more importantly, the enhancement of complex neural network.

Although the market study needs a thorough research on the market performance based on the applications, geography, end-user industries and architecture type, we take a look at the market form the processing units point of view.

The Market and Top Competitors:

Different vendors are trying to develop new products, and while some other vendors are trying to come with modern architecture to meet the demands of an AI chip for the applications of deep learning. These vendors are in a never-ending race to provide better performance and efficiency for the workloads that the microprocessor chips takes on.

Reportedly, the global microprocessor market is following a growth trajectory of 1.16% from 2018 to 2024.

The Deep learning bit isn’t the only one affecting the microprocessor market but also the increase in the cloud data storage. The cloud data storage increases the demand for servers and has subsequently improved the requirements for better performing microprocessor systems and the fact that 90% of the companies nowadays operate on a cloud gives it additional weight. And because of this, the Asia Pacific will hold a majority share in the market.

The Two Major Players

When it comes to the microprocessor market, we have important players in the market like NVIDIA, Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, Apple, Freescale, MediaTek, and Samsung LSI, among others.

Among all of these, Intel has been the frontrunner for these past years, but things are shifting now. In 2018 Intel’s CPU shortage caused a major issue for the company, which created a bigger problem for the customers. In September 2019, even Microsoft announced that they are planning to move to AMD for their Surface laptop.

Even after many years of holding a pivotal position in this industry and the shortage has caused the customers to try new alternatives quickly. And why shouldn’t they? Competitors like AMD have been using superior processes to make better chips and even if there is a slight shortage of by Intel, AMD has been capitalising the market share.

With the competition by AMD’s new Ryzen CPUs, which surpass Intel’s CPUs, it is tough to say whether Intel’s announcement of the end of their shortage will bring about any silver lining.

But, the next question to ask is — will AMD meet the same fate? Looking at the news from a month ago, AMD issued an update on the production of its generation Ryzen processors. It said that AMD has seen very high demand and as a result pushed its launch of its high-end 16 core desktop processor — Ryzen 9 3950X from September 2019 to November 2019.

The main reason for AMD to delay the launch of the chips was that they weren’t meeting the required clock speeds that should be able to perform at the top. As a result of the fierce competition and fear of dishing out a chip whose performance might be underwhelming to their customers, AMD delayed the launch.

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Nonetheless, as of 2019, Intel still holds significant shares for microprocessors worldwide.

Room For More?

Is the market crowded? Well, if you look at the history of significant shareholders and stats on the microprocessor market, there are two major players, Intel and AMD, except that Intel is the only one. It holds 70% of the CPU market, while AMD controls about one-quarter of the same. Now, the outside competition has come and gone, but there have been competitions.

It is okay if one has heard of Intel and AMD only because when it comes to WIndows processors, both these are pretty famous. But, other microprocessor manufacturers have all specialised in different segments of consumer electronics and are away from the PC market. Some examples of such companies are, Instruments Inc., Qualcomm Inc, ARM Holdings and Broadcom Limited. These manufacturers supply the chips for many of the world’s smartphones, and tablets like for example, Apple Inc.’s iPhone has made use of the processor designed by Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor.

The Future

What AMD’s Ryzen chip has shown us is that it is possible to enter the market of microprocessor chips provided that you offer better and cheaper (value for money) products. Proof that a new entry is possible is that in the last 12-13 months, AMD shares have exceeded that of Intel’s but, it is essential to keep in mind that AMD is still far from catching up to Intel.

It is true that with so many technological changes in the world like the advent of CNNs and boom in cloud computing, the microprocessor market is crowded but not if one offers a superior product.

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