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Intel profits surge towards heavens

An 875 per cent leap (with caveats)

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Intel has reported fourth-quarter revenue of $10.6bn, a 28 per cent rise from the same quarter last year. Operating income for the quarter was $2.5 billion and net income $2.3bn, topping Wall Street estimates.

That net income increase was a brawny 875 per cent improvement year-on-year, a $2bn rise. But as impressive as these figures may sound, the fourth quarter of 2008 was exceptionally execrable for Chipzilla, with profits in that quarter diving a full 90 per cent, not only because of the heinous condition of the world tech market at that time, but also due to Intel's $1bn write-off of its stake in the WiMax service provider Clearwire.

But still, $2.3bn isn't exactly chump change.

Referring to today's report (PDF), Intel CFO Stacy Smith said (PDF): "The fourth quarter was a strong ending to a year with a very difficult beginning."

Smith credited "a healthy holiday selling season" as one factor in the $10.6bn revenue figure, a 13 per cent growth that he characterized as "nearly twice the average seasonal sequential growth seen in the fourth quarter." He also noted that the 28 per cent revenue rise was "the largest percent increase in over 10 years."

Smith also projected that revenue for the current quarter will be $9.7bn, with plus-or-minus wiggle room of $400M. Although the center point of that projection would be 8 per cent below the just-finished quarter, Smith characterized that drop as "consistent with the average historical seasonal decrease."

In a canned statement, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said: "Our ability to weather this business cycle demonstrates that microprocessors are indispensable in our modern world. Looking forward, we plan to deliver the benefits of computing to an expanding set of products, markets and customers."

Intel's shares jumped over 2.7 per cent after the announcement to $22.07 per share before settling back to $21.45 at close of markets. ®

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