Intel CEO credits data-centric chips and PC market recovery for growth | Industry

Intel‘s interim CEO Bob Swan credited the company’s expansion into new data-centric markets and the of the market for the company’s solid financial performance.

The company blew past Wall Street’s expectations, prompting a 4.42 percent gain to $46.27 a share for the company’s stock price in after-hours trading.

The world’s biggest maker of PC chips said third quarter revenue was $19.2 billion, up 19 percent from the previous quarter, while the PC portion of revenue was up 16 percent. Earnings per share was $1.40 a share, compared with $1.01 a share a year earlier.

Analysts expected Intel to post earnings per share of $1.15, up from the $1.07 a share expected at the beginning of the quarter. Intel forecasted Q4 earnings per share of $1.22.

Swan said that in addition to its Xeon data center processors, Intel’s growth can be attributed to its expansion into data-centric businesses, including memory chips, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), modems, and other silicon businesses.

And Swan said that after seven years of decline, the PC should see modest growth in 2018. Intel’s chips are popular in PCs for commercial, gaming, and hybrid laptop-tablets.

Intel expects revenues for the full year to grow more than $8.4 billion to $71.2 billion, a new record, and it tweaked its expectations for Q4 upward today. It now expects $19.2 billion in revenue for Q4, and earnings per share of $1.22.

MobilEye had record revenue of $191 million, up 50 percent as its chips for self-driving cars are starting to take off. Artificial intelligence has already generated $1 billion in revenues to date.

Intel said in the past that it was having trouble developing its process technology for 10-nanometer manufacturing (the equivalent of 7-nanometer circuitry at rivals). Right now, the company plans to launch its first 10-nanometer chips in the second half of 2019, but rivals are launching the equivalent process technology and chips built with it now.

“We continue to make good progress on 10-nanometer,” he said in an analyst call, noting yields are improving at the company is on schedule to deliver its first 10-nanometer chips in the holiday season of 2019. “Our strategy, leadership products and amazing people led to the best quarter in the company’s history.”

Swan said that Intel embarked on its quest to become a data-centric business five years ago, and that is starting to bear fruit.

“Intel had a blowout third quarter led by massive uptake in data-centric technologies like Xeon processors, FPGAs, networking and storage technologies,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, in an email. “Every division saw growth, surprisingly, the PC Group. PC growth is a testament to Intel’s marketing and sales ability to successfully execute the up-sell as well as taking advantage of macro growth where it is strongest commercial PCs. Intel even saw mature market consumer PC improvements, a testament to gaming and thin and light portfolio strength and market demand. Overall, Intel’s long-term investments are paying off.”

Advanced Micro Devices is expected to challenge Intel next year with the launch of its second-generation Epyc server chips in 2019. Intel will challenge AMD with its own Xeon server refresh chips , dubbed Cascade Lake and Cooper Lake, for next year.

The company removed its CEO Brian Krzanich earlier this year after it was found he had a consensual sexual relationship with an employee in violation of company policies. Intel is still looking for a permanent successor to Krzanich.

Swan said earlier this year Intel was caught off guard by explosive growth across a number of its markets. Intel had to constrain growth of its customers because it didn’t have enough chips to go around. Supply is still constrained for Internet of Things chips.


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