Intel posts best quarter in 42-year history

The latest strides by AMD—six-core processors and hot new mobile platforms—seem to have done little to break Intel's momentum. As a matter of fact, Intel says last quarter was the best in its 42-year history, with the company racking up $10.8 billion in revenue and net profits of $2.9 billion.

Since this saves us a lot of verbose matching and comparing, here's a table with the numbers for last quarter, the quarter before that, and the second quarter of 2009:

  Q2 2009 Q1 2010 Q2 2010
Revenue $8.0 billion $10.3 billion $10.8 billion
Net income -$398 million $2.4 billion $2.9 billion
Gross margin 51% 63% 67%

Keep in mind the Q2 2009 loss was due to that pesky European Commission fine; without it, Intel would have posted net income of about $1.4 billion. That still pales in comparison to today's announcement, though.

The most striking number to my eyes is probably Intel's 67% gross margin, which is just a huge jump over past figures. By contrast, AMD's margin was only 47% last quarter—and that was up from 43% a year before. Higher income naturally translates to higher research-and-development spending. Intel says its expenditures on R&D and MG&A (mergers and acquisitions, if I recall my business initialisms) were actually higher than expected in Q2, totaling $3.25 billion.

Intel expects even greater revenue for this quarter: $11.6 billion, give or take $400 million, with a gross margin in the 65-67% range. We'll find out the actual results in three months.

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