Intel profits climbed to $2.4 billion last quarter

Call the year's first calendar quarter "seasonally down" all you wish, Intel still managed to post higher profits in Q1 2010 than in the final quarter of 2009. The company racked up net income of $2.4 billion on revenue of $10.3 billion in Q1, giving it a small sequential profit increase together with an equally small sequential revenue drop.

Of course, if you contrast these new results with those from the same quarter a year ago, when the recession was in full swing, Intel now seems to be doing much better:

  Q1 2009 Q4 2009 Q1 2010
Revenue $7.1 billion $10.6 billion $10.3 billion
Net income $647 million $2.3 billion $2.4 billion
Gross margin 46% 65% 63%

Intel says it enjoyed "record mobile microprocessor revenue" last quarter, and average selling prices for its CPUs went "slightly up" compared to Q4 '09. On the flip side, revenue for the whole of its PC Client Group was flat, and the chipmaker's data center and "Other Intel Architecture" businesses saw revenue drops of 8% and 9%, respectively.

The Atom numbers in today's earnings release are a little surprising: revenue from Atom CPUs and chipsets fell to $355 million, down 19% from the previous quarter. Considering Intel's otherwise record-breaking mobile CPU revenue, one would be tempted to think the firm's strategy of marginalizing netbooks with its more expensive Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage processors is succeeding. After all, why get a $300 netbook when a Celeron M-powered ultraportable with more tantalizing specifications can be had for just $404.99?

Looking at the ongoing quarter, Intel expects revenue to fall somewhere in the $9.8- to 10.6-billion range, while its gross margin should add up to 62-66%.

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