PC Sales Drive Intel To Record 2011

Driven by strong performances from its PC Client and Data Center groups, Intel announced Thursday a record annual revenue of $54 billion, up 24 percent year-over-year compared to the $43.6 billion it reported in 2010.

The chip maker’s net income for 2011 was $12.9 billion, a 19 percent jump from the $11.5 billion it saw in 2010, and its operating income was $17.5 billion, up 12 percent year-over-year.

"2011 was an exceptional year for Intel," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO in a statement. "With outstanding execution the company performed superbly, growing revenue by more than $10 billion and eclipsing all annual revenue and earnings records."

Intel attributed its record-breaking year primarily to its PC Client Group, which alone accounted for a revenue of $34.5 billion, the company said. PC sales within emerging and enterprise markets were cited as the group’s largest source of growth.

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The chip maker’s Data Center Group also accounted for a hefty chunk of its overall yearly earnings, bringing in approximately $10.1 billion in revenue. Intel Atom microprocessor and chipset revenue, along with the acquisition of McAfee and the Infineon wireless division, were also identified as catalysts for growth.

Intel also reported a healthy quarterly revenue of $13.9 billion for the fourth quarter of 2011, up 21 percent year-over-year from the $11.5 billion it announced during the fourth quarter of 2010.

The company did say, however, that its fourth quarter revenue of $13.9 billion was down slightly from the $14.2 billion it reported in the third quarter of 2011 due to hard disk drive shortages and a disrupted supply chain caused by the Thailand floods.

Intel forecasted a more modest quarterly revenue of $12.8 billion, plus or minus $500 million, for its first quarter in 2012. The company’s overall outlook for the new year, however, is an optimistic one, with high hopes stem largely from the arrival of its new super-chic line of Ultrabooks and the upcoming release of its new Atom "Medfield" processors, optimized for smartphones and tablets.

More than 70 new Ultrabook designs are expected to hit the market this year, the company said, and are anticipated to be well-received. "People are very excited about the feature set, and having the PC re-energized," Otellini said during Intel’s earning call.

What’s more, the chip maker expressed confidence in its recently announced partnerships with Motorola Mobility and Lenovo, who plan on releasing the market’s first ever Intel-fueled smartphones over the coming months. Otellini emphasized the company’s eagerness to increase its footprint in the mobile space, especially as more and more Android and Windows 8 tablets land in consumers’ hands this year. "You’ll see us well positioned on multiple price points on those," he said.

As it gears up for the year ahead, the Silicon Valley giant also said its new Romley platform can be expected sometime during the first quarter, with the long-awaited release of its new Ivy Bridge series of processors – which are said to beat out the graphics performance delivered by its Sandy Bridge chips by a whopping 70 percent – slated for early spring.