April 14, 2010 at 7:57 am
Intel reported its strongest ever first quarter results yesterday, with net profit up by 288 percent to $2.4 billion. Much of this growth was attributed to high-end notebook processors, with Atom processors sliding the other way, declining by 19 percent to $335 million.
The numbers highlight that there has either been stockpiling of Atom processors in previous quarters or that netbook sales are on a downward trend. As Intel has raised its margin guidance for the year to 62-66 cents (from 58-64 cents), it clearly expects the lower-margin Atom CPU to not sell as strongly.
During the investor conference call yesterday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, reaffirmed his faith in netbook growth. “The heart of the question is netbooks. As I said earlier I still think there will be significant growth in the netbook business year-over-year. I think that there are rather than pricing I think we would look to features and integration as a technical novelty or twist here.”
In answer to a question about what the company is doing to re-invigorate Atom Sales. Otellini replied: “The next innovation coming out on Atom is Dual Core which comes out in the second quarter. So that will ramp for the holiday season this year and I think that will be a very attractive product.”
As the company already ships dual-core Atom processors (D410, D510) for the nettop market, it is likely that Otellini is talking about a dual-core Atom processor part. Great news if true, the netbook market is in much need for differentiation, especially with all the cookie clutter netbooks out there. There’s no further details although I’d expect more information at Computex in June.