About the microprocessor industry

Written by dan stone
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About the microprocessor industry
There are several companies that produce microprocessors. (cpu 1 image by Robert Molnar from Fotolia.com)

The microprocessor industry makes the chips that run today's technology, including, but not limited to, computers, calculators, mobile phones, video game consoles, digital cameras and PDAs. The Intel 8080 was made in April 1974 and is considered the first commercial microprocessor, according to Richard Birkby's "A Brief History of the Microprocessor." Intel invented the first microprocessor three years before the 8080, according to Intel. There are several other active microprocessor manufacturers.


Intel is primarily known for making the "Pentium" brand of microprocessors used in home computers. The company was founded in 1968 and is notable for its major contributions to the development of microprocessors. Intel's processors are found in computers, handheld computing devices, mobile phones, and in the telecommunications industry. In early 2010, Intel was the leading computer processor manufacturer with a market share of over 80 per cent.


Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is primarily known for making computer microprocessors and for its lower-cost K6 processor that helped reduce the cost of a consumer PC. The company was founded in 1969. The company is also known for demonstrating the first dual-core x86 (commercial 32-bit computer) processor and for its early 64-bit processor design. In early 2010, AMD was the second-largest computer processor manufacturer with a market share of just under 19 per cent.


VIA Technologies is another microprocessor manufacturer, however, the company is better known for making motherboard (the device that the processor uses to communicate with the rest of the computer) components. VIA was founded in 1987 and aquired the Cyrix and Centaur microprocessor manufacturers in 1999. In early 2010, VIA was the third-largest computer processor manufacturer with a market share of 0.2 per cent.


IBM is known for creating the "IBM-PC" standard and establishing the home computer industry in 1981 with the IBM Personal Computer. IBM used to manufacture microprocessors for home computers, notably having a part in the "Power PC" processor used by generations of Apple computers. But the company has moved into making other types of microprocessors. IBM's "Cell" processor is used in the PlayStation 3 video game console and may eventually appear in TV sets, home servers and supercomputers.


ARM is known for designing and licensing microprocessors used in mobile phones and other mobile devices, as opposed to home computers. ARM does not manufacture its own processors. The company was formed in 1990 as a result of a joint effort between Apple Computers and Acorn Computer Group. ARM's manufacturers have shipped more than 15 billion ARM-licensed chips, as of early 2010.

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