Atom surge helps Intel record bumper profits

Intel has posted exceptional fourth quarter profits of $2.3 billion, an increase of 875% on the same quarter in 2008.

Atom surge helps Intel record bumper profits

The results are yet another positive sign that the PC market is returning to full health, after the downturn of the past couple of years. The results were boosted by especially strong sales of the Atom processors found in netbooks and mobile devices, with 2009 sales up 167% on those of 2008.

“The fourth quarter was a strong ending to a year with a difficult beginning,” says Intel’s chief financial officer, Stacy Smith. “We have seen a return of consumer demand and replenishment to normal inventory levels after the precipitous demand drop at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.”

Yet it wasn’t all good news for Intel. Overall profits for 2009 came in at $4.4 billion, which is still 17% down on the 2008 figure. Overall revenue also fell 7% year-on-year to $35.1 billion.

However, those 2009 figures include the $1.45 billion fine imposed on the company by the EU for its anti-competitive practices, and the related $1.25 billion settlement with rival AMD. With those penalties excluded, Intel would have posted a net income boost of 12% year-on-year.

Intel’s aggressive development cycle shows no signs of slowing, either. Last week Intel officially unveiled its industry-leading 32nm processors, and its 2010 plans have set aside $6.2 billion for research and development – a budget rival AMD can only dream of matching.

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