It’s easy to think, while AMD’s stomping all over the CPU industry like a really fairly priced Godzilla, that Intel’s having a tough time right now. Well, think again. Intel has published its latest financial results, covering both the Q4 2019 period and 2019 as a whole, revealing earnings which were much better than expected.
Analysts had predicted Intel’s sales for Q4 2019 would be around $19.23 billion but Intel beat these estimates with total revenue up 8% year on year for the quarter, to $20.21 billion.
In terms of 2019 as a whole, Intel had targeted 1% growth to $71.5 billion in 2019, citing a decline in operating margins to the costs of 10nm chip production as the reason for slow growth. Intel successfully doubled this modest target, increasing revenue up to $72B, a rise of over 2%. This represents the all-time record full-year revenue for Intel.
Strong growth in Xeon chips for artificial intelligence and machine learning tasks was a key factor, with data centres consistently turning to Xeon for intense workloads. Second to this, there was a significant uptick in OEM PC sales throughout 2019, largely down to Microsoft’s decision to axe Windows 7 support.
“In 2019, we gained share in an expanded addressable market that demands more performance to process, move and store data,” said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. “One year into our long-term financial plan, we have outperformed our revenue and EPS expectations. Looking ahead, we are investing to win the technology inflections of the future, play a bigger role in the success of our customers and increase shareholder returns."
Considering all the news lately has been AMD’s resurgence and the success of both Ryzen 3000 and Threadripper, you’d think Intel’s bottom like would’ve been hurt somewhat. Ryzen forced a whole swathe of Intel price drops but it hasn’t made much of a dent in Team Blue’s earnings. Couple this with reports of manufacturing mistakes and engineering struggles with new architecture, all of which sent Intel’s share price tumbling. Yet off the back of these fiscal results, Intel’s stock value has risen to a 20-year high.
Looking forward, Intel is planning to keep sailing steadily on with targeted revenue up to $73.5 billion. Data-centric revenue is expected to increase significantly while PC-centric income is set to dip slightly YOY.