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A year ago: Intel goes like clappers

Yearly results show rest of industry has lots to learn

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Despite the reams of paper spent on financial results by large companies, it's really rather easy to figure what's happening at a company by reading between the lines. Intel, for example, turned in its yearly results last year and this can be expressed easily in one sentence. In fiscal 97 it turned over $25 billion and made a whopping profit while in fiscal 96 it turned over 20 per cent less than that and made a whopping profit. Fortunately, US rules make large corporations go a little bit further than that, breaking things out by the quarter, and it's those items which make compulsive reading for journalists. For example: "Unit shipments of Fast Ethernet connections and switches were up from the third quarter, unit shipments of hubs were down from the third quarter." Bad news for 3Com then. What about this item, too? Intel's gross margin in Q4 was up slightly from 58 per cent in Q3, "partially offset by the impact of purchased components used on the SEC cartridge for the Pentium II processor". This is sophistry, because it spent a lot more on SRAM when it was telling the world how wonderful the Pentium Pro was. It turns out, too, that Intel won't suffer as much as others might from the problems in South East Asia, because most of its revenue stream doesn't come from that region or from Japan, for some reason taken out of the equation. Intel now has 64,000 employees, up from 48,500 at the end of 1996. Here's the fact about Intel and DEC Alpha that many hacks got wrong, spelt out in some detail: "Intel announced during the quarter that it plans, subject to government review, to purchase Digital Equipment Corporation’s semiconductor operations for approximately $700 million. As part of the deal, Intel will serve as a foundry for Digital for multiple generations of Alpha microprocessors. Other key components of the deal include a 10 year patent cross license agreement and Digital development of a full line of systems based on Intel’s IA-64 processor family. (Our italics). ® NB 11 January 1999. Intel's and AMD's yearly results are released later this week.

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