updated 05:35 pm EST, Thu January 14, 2010
AMD deal has little impact on Intel health
Intel on Thursday night reported banner results for its fall 2009 quarter. In spite of its settlement with AMD, the company's revenue grew 28 percent to $10.6 billion. Its net profit grew by an even larger 875 percent to $2.3 billion, and the gross profit on its hardware jumped to about 65 percent.
Without the AMD deal, the company would have made as much as $3.1 billion.
The semiconductor creator doesn't give credit to any particular product for its success but does say its emphasis on manufacturing processes has paid off. Improvements in its 45 nanometer process helped it ramp up clock speeds for existing designs and helped bring about multiple desktop Core i5 and i7 quad-core chips in the fall as well as the first fruits of its CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) line.
An improving economy may have helped, though Intel still characterizes itself as having 'weathered' a tough period.
Netbooks are also likely to have had a material impact on Intel's fortunes. Although they have relatively low profit margins for Intel as Atom chips are already inexpensive, their low prices have regularly resulted in higher volumes and offset much of the perceived smaller income.
The company is somewhat cautious with its outlook for the winter. It expects its revenue to drop to $9.7 billion in the post-holiday lull but is also bracing itself for a slightly smaller 61 percent margin both during that quarter as well as for the rest of the year. The release of Atoms based on the Pine Trail platform, as well as a shift to less expensive dual-core Core i3, i5 and i7 chips, is likely to steer profit margins downwards.