Intel Reports Flat Revenues Despite PC Boom

Posted on April 23, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Mobile, Windows with 27 Comments

Intel reported last night that it earned a net income of $3.4 billion on revenues of $19.7 billion with flat year-over-year growth. This, despite 38 percent growth in sales to PC makers.

“Intel delivered strong first-quarter results driven by exceptional demand for our leadership products and outstanding execution by our team,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said. “The response to our new … strategy has been extraordinary, our product roadmap is gaining momentum, and we’re rapidly progressing our plans with re-invigorated focus on innovation and execution. This is a pivotal year for Intel. We are setting our strategic foundation and investing to accelerate our trajectory and capitalize on the explosive growth in semiconductors that power our increasingly digital world.”

From a financial perspective, Intel didn’t exactly move the needle this past quarter. Revenues were down slightly from the $19.8 billion it earned in the year-ago quarter, hence the use of the word “flat,” and net income was down from the $5.7 billion it reported a year ago.

Intel has two primary businesses, one focused on the PC market and one on datacenters. Intel’s PC business beat expectation by $1 billion in revenues thanks to 38 percent growth YOY, driven of course by strong pandemic-era demand. But its datacenter business saw revenues fall from $6.99 billion last year to $5.56 billion, which could be a red flag for the future.

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Comments (30)

30 responses to “Intel Reports Flat Revenues Despite PC Boom”

  1. Chris_Kez

    "...exceptional demand for our leadership products..."

    What are leadership products?

  2. dougkinzinger

    I believe Intel's choice to build new fabs will prove financially successful in 5-10 years times. Particularly since they can build other companies chips. Here's hoping at least.

  3. derekaw

    Money from Apple is in decline now and that won't get better.

  4. bettyblue

    In reply to lvthunder:

    Sure costing on momentum from 3-5 years ago and fact they have chips when the preferred choice has nothing. I use a 14nm Xeon to heat my house.

  5. locust_infested_orchard_inc.

    Stokkolm in the 'Premium Comments' asked about AMD's financial reporting:

    "Has AMD reported earnings yet? It would be interesting to see if their datacenter revenue grew at Intel's expense."

    Next week, big tech reports on their earnings, with the likes of AMD, Microsoft, Fakebook, Adoogle (Alphabet), Orchard Inc, Amazon, Tesla, and Shopify.

    This year thus far, NASDAQ:MSFT is out-performing the other tech stocks.

  6. locust_infested_orchard_inc.

    Chris_Kez in the 'Premium Comments' stated,

    "'...exceptional demand for our leadership products...'

    What are leadership products?"

    'Leadership products' as defined by Intel is of course none other than silicon at 14+ⁿ nm.

    Because nobody does 14 nm (and variations of it) quite like Intel.

  7. winner

    Competition is a bitch.

  8. bluvg

    That datacenter revenue drop is cause for particular concern, especially with Microsoft's very aggressive datacenter plans. Intel has its work cut out for it.

  9. Pbike908

    Now one knows why the Intel CEO came out the other day hinting around at a government bail out in the name of national security -- "We need government help to ensure critical supply chain in for national security purposes."

  10. bettyblue

    There is simply no reason to buy anything with Intel in it. We just purchased 8 new Dell R6525's with AMD Epic CPU's to replace a current 8 host VMware cluster running on older Dell R630 hosts. Intel out AMD in.

    If you are building a gaming PC....AMD 1000%. Windows laptops...AMD now. Mac, M1 all the way.

    • ghostrider

      In reply to bettyblue:

      We probably buy the equivalent of a 50/50 split between Intel & AMD now. I'd rather go fully AMD Epyc, but it's not always possible. I recently replaced a VMware cluster that was running 3 hosts on dual 8 core Xeon's with single socket 32C/64T EPYC's - and my god those CPU's are impressive. AMD are absolutely on a roll now - long may it continue.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to bettyblue:

      Unfortunately, you're wrong, there are plenty of reasons to buy Intel, depending on what you're looking for. There are huge segments of the PC market that AMD doesn't cover at all. Business desktops, for example, AMD has virtually no presence at all. Now that it's been shown that AMD has no capability to meet the demand of huge corporate buyer like Dell and HP, it'll be a while before AMD has any marketshare in business desktops. In the $200-500 laptops market (including Chromebooks), AMD has virtually nothing. They certainly have nothing that competes with Intel's low-end N-series processors. Mini PCs are almost impossible to find with AMD CPUs. In high-end laptops, AMD's lack of Thunderbolt support is a big hindrance, and AMD isn't even an option in a lot of popular product lines (Thinkpad X1 and Yoga, Dell XPS13, etc.)

      Sure, for gaming PCs, you want AMD. If you're never going to use Thunderbolt, a $600 Ryzen 4500U laptop is all you need. Epyc is amazing. But that's not the whole market, and there are a lot of places where Intel is still dominating despite the fact that they've basically been standing still for like 4 years.

      • bettyblue

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        You are right and I almost added this.....

        The ONLY reason to choose Intel is when others can't meet the demand but need something, you can, against better reason, choose Intel.

        AMD relies on TSMC and others to produce their 7nm CPU's and TSMC is at max capacity, producing almost all of the latest and greatest CPU/GPU tech, including Xbox Series X/S, PS5, AMD CPU's and GPU's, some of NVIDIA tech and all of the 5nm M1 chips for Apple. I recently read Apple bought all of the 2021 (starts rolling out in September) and 2022 3nm supply from TSMC for their next round of M's series chips.

        So yes if you have to have a computer/server and you cant get AMD because of supply issues you can fall back to some 10-14nm (mostly 14nm) blazing hot Intel chips.

        My house is Intel free, save for my work provided 16inch Macbook. I am hoping Apple drops a M-powred 16inch Macbook 1 order for me.

      • Greg Green

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        Intel has about 80% in desktops and laptops, and about 90% in servers. But nearly everyone is chipping away at them. With apple’s departure, AMD claiming they have dominated premium processor sales, and AMD moving into laptops, it’s not surprising intel revenues are flat in a growing world.

        with their current stasis the idea of making discrete gpus and competing on a new front against nvidia and AMD makes them look like masochists.

  11. Stokkolm

    Has AMD reported earnings yet? It would be interesting to see if their datacenter revenue grew at Intel's expense.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Stokkolm:

      Partly. The major cloud providers are also starting to bring their own ARM chipped servers on stream. Microsoft, Google and Amazon all have their own ARM designs and Fujitsu built the worlds fastest computer, with custom Fujitsu ARM cores last year...

      The desktop is the only, relatively safe sector that Intel still has going for it, but Apple and AMD are showing that even there, it isn't really safe. The slumbering giant has slumbered too long and is waking up to find itself surrounded.

  12. remc86007

    They've clearly pushed their current manufacturing processes way past their capabilities. Rocket lake is just awful. There are instances where it is worse than the prior gen parts. I have no idea what they'll do when Ryzen 6000 launches.

  13. martinusv2

    They sure have to catch up this year. Apple showed that ARM based CPU can be a viable

    solution in the desktop. nVidia aiming hard on scientific, AI server space. Amd

    disrupting with more efficient CPU on the desktop, server space.

    Just curious how well their GPU products will be competitive compared to nVidia, Amd.

    From a gaming perspective :)

  14. codymesh

    The Intel dominance of the 2000's isn't coming back. Even if they took back the performance crown from AMD, the wider landscape itself is seeing further disruptions to both x86 chip makers - Nvidia just announced that they're making CPUs, and of course ARM itself isn't asleep, on top of large customers like Amazon opting for their own custom designs.

  15. glenn8878

    Gen 11 Core Rocket Lake aren't ready. Their performance kinda sucks. Wait for Gen 12 Core for their new CPU design to become more efficient and mature. I just bought the Gen 10 Core and it works very well compared to the Gen 6 that it replaced.

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