Intel, the world's largest semiconductor player, is susceptible to market conditions just like every other company, and right now PC sales are in a slump. Serving up chips to the PC market is Intel's bread and butter, so it strives or struggles at a similar clip, though it's all relative. What do we mean? Well, Intel said it generated $13.5 billion revenue during the third quarter, which is an obscene amount of money, and even a little better than analysts were expecting, but only after the chip maker lowered its Q3 sales forecast.
Just over a month ago, Intel lowered its Q3 sales forecast by about a billion dollars, saying sales would be anywhere from $12.9 billion to $13.5 billion rather than in the range of $13.8 billion to $14.8 billion. Posting $13.5 billion matches the chip maker's high-side estimate, but is still as much as $1.3 billion below its previous forecast.
"Our third-quarter results reflected a continuing tough economic environment," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. "The world of computing is in the midst of a period of breakthrough innovation and creativity. As we look to the fourth quarter, we're pleased with the continued progress in Ultrabooks and phones and excited about the range of Intel-based tablets coming to market."
AMD sang a similar tune when it issued its own Q3 sales warning last week, citing "weaker than expected demand across all product lines" as the reason. The Sunnyvale chip designer promptly took a beating in the stock market, as investors drove AMD's share price down to a three-year low.
Intel's PC division was flat sequentially and down 8 percent year-over-year, the company said, while its data center dollars dropped 5 percent sequentially and 6 percent compared to one year ago.
All this comes before Microsoft's Windows 8 launch and the million-and-one related PC products about to be released, including newfangled Ultrabook models that boast touchscreen displays and convertible form factors.