Nvidia warns on latest quarterly earnings

Most tech companies are disclosing their earnings for holiday quarter, and Nvidia will do so soon—its announcement is scheduled for February 15. In the meantime, the company has given everyone a taste of things to come by warning that its revenue won't meet expectations.

For its fiscal quarter ended January 29, Nvidia now expects revenue of $950 million, give or take 1%. That's down from the $1.066 billion (with a 2% margin of error) the company predicted when it announced its third-fiscal-quarter results in November. The company provides two explanations for the revised estimate:

The global disk-drive shortage caused by the flooding in Thailand had more impact on the mainstream GPU segment than anticipated. Shipments by some PC OEMs were reduced. And the higher prices of disk-drives constrained some PC OEMs' ability to include a GPU in their systems.

Additionally, the Tegra 2 mobile business declined more rapidly than expected, ahead of devices based on the Tegra 3 processor ramping into production in the first quarter of calendar-year 2012.

The note about reduced GPU demand does seem plausible. In its fourth-quarter earnings release, AMD revealed that its GPU business saw revenue decline of 5% compared to the previous quarter and 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. The mention of lower Tegra sales gives an idea of how important that business has become to Nvidia's bottom line, too.

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