Intel posts largest quarterly loss in firm historical past as processor gross sales plunge

Backside line: In contrast to some tech giants like Microsoft and Google, Intel’s backside line is hurting this 12 months. The corporate noticed a $2.8 billion loss in Q1 – the worst in its historical past and a serious hit at a time when it’s scrambling to pivot in the direction of an open foundry mannequin and defend its future. CEO Pat Gelsinger assumed a variety of dangers with the brand new technique and believes it should repay in spades, however we’ll have to attend and see.

Intel is not in nice form proper now. The tech large’s Q1 2023 revenues fell 36 p.c year-over-year to $11.7 billion – the biggest drop recorded by the corporate in its 55 years of existence. Whereas it did pay dividends of over $1.5 billion, buyers are fearful in regards to the long-term profitability of the corporate as its gross margin dropped from 50.4 p.c in Q1 to 34.2 p.c within the first quarter of this 12 months.

One factor is obvious – Intel and Microsoft’s fortunes have been diverging prior to now a number of years in stark distinction to the times of the notorious Wintel empire. The Redmond large is doing higher than most tech giants throughout an financial storm, and its tech tradition and focus have modified so much lately. In the meantime, Intel has but to realize the identical transformation regardless of hopes that Pat Gelsinger’s return to the corporate would have the identical impact as that of Steve Jobs when he went again to Apple.

When zooming in on the latest monetary report, the figures look brutal for Intel. The Shopper Computing Group (CCG) recorded $5.8 billion in income within the first three months of 2023, a pointy 28 p.c decline year-over-year. Like Samsung, the Santa Clara firm blames low client demand and stock changes at OEMs for the end result.

Nonetheless, CCG stays the most important income driver and CEO Pat Gelsinger expressed optimism a couple of potential restoration in client and enterprise spending on PC and server processors. It is also value noting that Intel just lately reorganized its GPU division into two smaller items that are actually built-in into the Shopper Computing Group and Knowledge Heart and AI Group, respectively.

Intel believes it may turn out to be a serious participant within the discrete GPU market and has laid out an aggressive roadmap for 2nd and Third-gen Arc GPUs, codenamed Battlemage and Celestial. Thus far it has solely managed to seize six p.c of the worldwide marketplace for laptop computer and desktop GPUs, which is an effective begin however not nice for the underside line. Intel fellow Tom Petersen earlier this 12 months confirmed the corporate is sacrificing revenue margins to develop market share, whereas the GPU division burned at the very least $3.5 billion between Q1 2021 and its latest reorganization in This fall 2022.

Transferring on to the Knowledge Heart and AI Group (DCAI), it recorded $3.7 billion in income within the three months of 2023, a staggering 39 p.c drop in comparison with the identical interval final 12 months. That is an space the place Gelsinger believes the worst is but to return, and it isn’t exhausting to see why. General gross sales of x86 server chips are down, OEMs have surplus stock, and AMD is fortunately chipping away at Intel’s market share whereas Amazon, Fb, and different tech giants are eager on embracing customized silicon primarily based on Arm designs.

Additionally learn: The best way to promote a CPU

The Community and Edge Group (NEX) fared barely higher, although it nonetheless noticed a 30 p.c year-over-year drop to $1.5 billion in Q1 2023. In the meantime, Intel Foundry Companies (IFS) made a meager $118 in complete gross sales and misplaced $140 million, one thing Intel says is the results of surging prices for constructing new fabs. IFS is central to Intel’s technique for the subsequent decade, as the corporate needs to meet up with the likes of TSMC by 2025 and turn out to be a coveted contract chip producer for firms each large and small.

MobilEye – an organization Intel purchased in 2017 to develop self-driving tech – is the one vibrant spot in an in any other case gloomy monetary report. It recorded revenues of $458 million in Q1 2023, which is a wholesome 16 p.c enhance year-over-year.

Throughout an investor name, Intel briefly famous it’s at present ramping up manufacturing on Intel 4 wafers, whereas improvement on Intel 3, Intel 20A, and Intel 18A stays on monitor. We count on the corporate will launch its Meteor Lake processors within the second half of this 12 months, and these would be the first designs to additionally use TSMC nodes for the GPU, SoC, and I/O tiles along with Intel’s personal course of expertise.

Peter Johnson