SAN FRANCISCODoes Intel Corp.'s warning Wednesday (Jan. 7) that it now expects fourth quarter 2008 revenue to be down 20 percent sequentially and 23 percent year-to-year have anything to do with better-than-expected sales of netbooks and the Intel Atom processors that power most of them?
At least one analyst thinks so, while another believes the No. 1 chipmaker could announce headcount reductions later this month.
Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network (New Tripoli, Pa.), said many consumers who purchased netbooks would likely have bought notebooks had the new product category not emerged. Assuming a price difference of at least $200 each between Atom processors and Intel's more expensive Penryn devices for notebooks, Castellano estimates that Intel lost $1.14 billion in revenue in 2008 by making cheaper processors and stands to lose another $2.16 billion in 2009.
Castellano's analysis concludes that Intel made a miscalculation and that the tech sector is really not as bad off as the numbers suggest. "The calculations are oversimplified, I admit, but I submit there is logic in this analysis," Castellano said in a statement.
The Information Network estimates that 11.4 million netbooks were sold in 2008, up from 400,000 in 2007. For 2009, the firm estimates that netbook sales will grow 189 percent to 21.5 million. Meanwhile, the firm estimates that 145.9 million notebooks were sold in 2008 and projects that number will grow 21.8 percent in 2009 to 177.7 million.
Without netbooks, The Information Network argues, many netbook purchasers would have bought notebooks. Acknowledging that the percentage was open to debate, the firm assumed for the sake of argument that 50 percent of the purchases of netbooks in 2008 and 2009 would have been notebook sales. This would equate to 5.7 million more notebooks sold in 2008 and 10.8 million more notebooks sold in 2009, the firm reasoned.