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Intel keeps positive outlook despite naysayers

Posted: 19 Jan 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:x86 processor? Intel's 4Q 2010 results? Intel Data Center Group?

The recent announcement of Intel Corp.'s third consecutive record quarter and best sales year ever failed to appease the company's critics, all of them claiming that its x86-based chips are being challenged if not outperformed by ARM-based processors in the mobile computing arena.

The No. 1 chip vendor sees things differently. Following its report of record sales of $11.5 billion for the fourth quarter of 2010�besting consensus analysts' expectations�Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini painted a rosy picture of the company's immediate and long-term prospects, highlighting its push into media tablets and smartphones, and the continued success of its server chips along with the growth of Internet traffic. He said Intel is confident it can grow its revenue by 10 percent in 2011 compared to the $43.6 billion the company achieved in 2010.

"In 2011, everything gets better," Otellini said. "The economy is forecasted to improve, our product line refreshes from top to bottom and our addressable market expands. With the PC industry now shipping over 1 million units a day, we entered 2011 by launching the best microprocessor we have every built."

Craig Berger, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, said despite Intel's powerful fourth quarter results and strong guidance for 2011, naysayers continue to harp on Intel's lack of an ARM-based CPU offering, its poor traction in smartphones and its continuing reliance on old-world x86 microprocessors.

"We somewhat disagree and think that Intel's business franchise will sustain for years to come (possibly losing out more to ARM-based CPUs along the way)," Berger wrote in a report circulated Friday.

Berger said FBR maintains a "market perform" rating on Intel's stock, equivalent to "hold," because the firm's analysts believe Intel shares will have a tough time breaking out given investor doubts amid the "tablet mania" that has gripped the electronics world. Nvidia Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. are winning the lion's share of tablet processor sockets with ARM-based CPUs, Berger noted.

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