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Intel growing happier with sales forecast as quarter nears end

No kidding...

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Intel is getting happier that it will meet its $6.2-6.8 billion revenue forecast for the current quarter, the company's CFO, Andy Bryant, said yesterday.

Apparently the events of 11 September have made predicting such figures rather more difficult than was once the case, but Intel's chiefs are "getting more and more comfortable every day" that they've got this one right, said Bryant in comments made during an interview with Reuters.

Wall Street too seems happy with Intel's forecast. The latest analysts' average puts Intel's Q4 revenue at $6.56 billion, just above the median of Intel's range.

Of course, it has to be said that matter would very serious indeed if Intel wasn't getting progressive more confident about its prediction. The company is, after all, two-thirds of the way through the quarter, and if it doesn't know by now in which direction it's headed, it's a poor do.

Some of the company's confidence is drawn from its current business strategy, which is firmly fixed on improving its bottom line, said Bryant. Intel is now rather less keen on investing in and promoting new technologies unless they will clearly improve the company's balance sheet.

This outlook is typified by Intel's decision to kill off its consumer electronics product line, designed not so much as a revenue generator but to promote the company as something more than a maker of microchips. In the end it did neither, and now, in these uncertain times, out it goes.

And uncertainly is the mood of the moment, it seems. Yes, recovery is coming, but when it will arrive is a prediction Intel is unwilling to make, said Bryant. That and other comments suggests the company is keen to avoid being seen as a barometer of conditions within the chip and wider IT businesses.

"We have come to the conclusion that we're no better than anyone else when it comes to doing that kind of forecast,'' Bryant said. "Figuring out the near term picture is pretty tough.''

Finally, Bryant wins this week's Sybil Fawlty Memorial Stating the Bleedin' Obvious Award for his comment that giving broad revenue predictions is safer than making tighter forecasts. "What you have to understand is that when you give a narrow range, you open yourself up to a lot of time in court," he said.

Never have guessed that, would you? We'd therefore like to suggest that Mr Bryant revises his forecast to somewhere between nothing and something, just to be sure... ®

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