It is certainly far from surprising that Athlon 1200 has extended AMD's lead in the market of X86-processors even further. We have to salute AMD for not trying to take the lead in terms of pricing as well, although AMD would actually deserve top-dollars for the top-processor in the PC-arena. Duron 800 is even way better in terms of how much you get for your money. You were never before able to get so much computing power for that little money. Additionally AMD is still leaving plenty of room for tweakers to squeeze even more performance out of Athlon and Duron. Especially the latter can be run at 1 GHz only with a graphite pencil and the right motherboard. Right now there's simply nothing better out there.
Although the last 13 months saw Athlon go from 500 to 1200 MHz, there is still plenty of headroom left for this processor. Soon the performance of AMD-systems will be improved by the introduction of DDR-SDRAM support. It won't be long until AMD will introduce a new chipset that finally enables multi-processing for its processors, at the same time when Intel releases a new processor that won't be able to do dual or multi-processing for quite a while.
Still there seems to be the need for other improvements that might not be welcomed by current SocketA-platform owners. If my speculation is right then Athlon will soon require the 133 MHz processor bus to successfully compete with Intel's upcoming Pentium 4. This might also require new motherboards to accommodate the new processor versions.
After looking at Intel's current pricing it is pretty obvious that only a minority can be crazy enough to sink major amounts of money in high-end Pentium III processors. It is not surprising that the majority of sold beyond 900 MHz processors are actually carrying the brand 'AMD'. We will have to see if Intel's next-generation Pentium 4 will be able to change this trend. I personally think that Intel's major justification for still being reasonably successful in the processor market can only be the uneducated average PC-user, who's simply too blind to see the writing on the wall. I wouldn't know why else Intel would be able to get away with a pricing that's simply appalling. I am not saying that Intel's processors are bad at all, but the pricing is just not justifiable.