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The profit broke in the final quarter also burdened by write-downs by 90 percent to $ 234 million. Turnover fell by nearly a quarter to 8.2 billion dollars (equivalent to 6.2 billion euros), as Intel announced Thursday night at the headquarters in Santa Clara, California.

Das Robert Noyce Building auf dem Intel-Campus in Santa Clara
The Robert Noyce Building on the Intel campus in Santa Clara
Photo: Intel

The industry leader is considered an important indicator for the entire technology industry. Intel boss Paul Otellini did not want to make an official sales prognosis in view of the uncertain prospects. Internally, the group expects revenues of around seven billion dollars in the current first quarter. The stock was up slightly on the stock market.

Among other things, the recently stagnating PC market is hard to beat for the chip giant. Even the continued success of the mini-notebooks (netbooks), in which most Intel's power-saving Atom processor is used, could not stop the downward trend. In recent years, PC sales have risen on average by about 15 percent.

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Intel is not alone with its problems. Practically all manufacturers warned against burglaries. The largest German semiconductor group Infineon, for example, predicted after a billion-dollar loss in the past fiscal year and for the current year already in the red and a drop in sales.

The chip industry is hardest hit by the economic crisis. In addition to the computer industry, one of the biggest customers is the auto industry, because there are many chips in on-board electronics. Gartner's market researchers predict that the semiconductor industry will experience two years of shrinking business for the first time in its history. They expect no improvement for the year 2010 at the earliest.

Intel's net income for 2008 fell nearly one-fourth to $ 5.3 billion. Turnover dropped by two percent to $ 37.6 billion. The group wants to slow down the decline with savings. Thus, Intel stopped new hires, spending on research and development declined. Even with acquisitions, Intel held back.

In the final quarter, a write-off of one billion dollars on the acquired wireless Internet company Clearwire pushed the Intel profit. The gross margin for experts fell from almost 59 percent in the third quarter to just over 53 percent. Earnings per share plummeted to four cents after 38 cents a year earlier (dpa / tc)