updated 08:30 pm EDT, Tue October 18, 2011
Intel Q3 2011 rides on notebooks
Intel marked another record quarter on Tuesday and partly bucked expectations that the iPad would cut more into sales. It cracked $14 billion in revenue for the first time at $14.3 billion, up 29 percent from a year ago, based on "double-digit" jumps in processors for portables. Its net profit was up nearly as much, climbing 24 percent to $3.7 billion.
Its core PC group was up 22 percent to $9.4 billion, while its datacenter group for servers was up less at 15 percent to $2.5 billion. The rapid collapse of netbooks was still being felt, as the Atom chip section was down a sharp 32 percent to $269 million.
During a results call, it did still point to a combination of a tough economy and possibly Apple's tablet dampening the sheer unit potential. Both Europe and North America had "soft" performance, CEO Paul Otellini said. However, he saw growth being relatively brisk both in enterprise-level computers as well as in developing countries. Incomes in these areas typically make an iPad prohibitively expensive as it can't usually replace a full computer and costs more than what many in these regions can justify.
For the fall, Intel guided for a relatively cautious three percent revenue hike to $14.7 billion based mostly on doubt over Europe's economic situation.
Although often perceived as being the direct victim of the iPad and most other tablets because of their use of non-Intel chips, Intel has had a mixed relationship where it sometimes benefits from others' success. The erosion of the netbook market has helped Intel by shifting PCs away from low-profit chips like the Atom towards more lucrative chips; its ultrabook initiative's primary goals are equally to provide a foil to tablets and the MacBook Air as well as to steer notebooks towards more expensive, low-voltage processors.
The rise of services like Apple's iCloud and Google Music gives Intel a further benefit, since many of these need increased server capacity and end up turning to Intel. Much of Apple's North Carolina datacenter runs on HP ProLiant systems.