SAN FRANCISCO—Intel Corp. Tuesday reported declines in first quarter sales and profit amid challenging PC market conditions, but said it still expects to grow sales moderately in 2013. Intel also cut its capital spending forecast for the year by about $1 billion.
Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) reported first quarter revenue of $12.6 billion, down 7 percent from the previous quarter and down 2 percent from the first quarter of 2012. The company reported a net income of $2 billion, or 40 cents per share, down 17 percent from the previous quarter and down 25 percent from the first quarter of 2012.
Intel's first quarter sales were in line with consensus analysts' expectations.
In a conference call with analysts following the quarterly report, Intel executives said the company is pinning its hopes for the year largely to innovative new computing form factors, including the Intel specified Ultrabook, convertibles, tablets and touch- enabled notebooks. Executives acknowledged that the company's revenue from silicon in smartphones is still negligible and that the company is still in the design win stage.
Paul Otellini, Intel's longtime CEO who is retiring next month, praised the innovation taking place in the computing space, particularly among OEMs and Taiwanese ODMs. Otellini called the innovation currently taking place "as as revolutionary as anything I've seen in my time in the industry."
Stacy Smith, Intel's chief financial officer, said the company continues to make progress in smartphones in tablet. "First quarter tablet volume more than doubled from the fourth quarter and we expect it to double again in the second quarter," Smith said.
In the second half of the year, Intel plans to launch Bay Trail, its next-generation Atom SoC, which will extend the company's product line across tablet screen sizes and price points, Smith said.
Smith predicted that there would be Ultrabooks available during the 2013 holiday season that crossed below the $600 price point, long viewed as an important milestone that could spur consumer adoption.
I feel that this is an inflection point for both Intel and Microsoft. The will either adapt like IBM did, or get destroyed like Kodak. Intel has a very high cost business model that can only be supported by high-ASP parts. The ARM-based SOCs being producted by Samsung and Nvidia have tiny ASP compared to x86 CPUs. Even if Intel destroys the competition in this arena, it would be a pyrric victory, since they would lose money on each chip.
I expected Q1 to be a slow season. This shouldn't be a big surprise. Q1 is historically a slow season. But with current trend such as smart phones and tablets, PC sales may continue to be a big problem. How will Intel be able to counteract? Will offering more foundry service be a solution for Intel?
The only good news out of this piece is the projection of $600 Ultrabooks price point. Hopefully the adaptation of the ultrabooks will give the pcmarket a boost and in some way create the level of demand that will drive the job creation badly needed during these times.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.