Intel PC business down 2pc as chip crunch continues

22 Oct 2021

Image: © Tada Images/

CEO Pat Gelsinger said Intel performed well in the latest quarter despite a ‘highly dynamic environment’.

Intel announced its third-quarter results yesterday (21 October), revealing that its PC-focused business was down 2pc because of low laptop sales and industry-wide component shortages.

Known as the Client Computing Group, this is Intel’s biggest revenue puller and includes the PC chip side of the business. A global chip shortage exacerbated by the pandemic has affected supply in the computing, smartphone and auto industries.

Earlier this year, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said it would take “another one to two years” for supply to catch up with demand.

Gelsinger told shareholders yesterday that demand for semiconductors remains strong and Intel’s factories performed well despite a “highly dynamic environment where match sets posed huge challenges for our customers and overall industry supply remained very constrained”.

Intel said that the lower laptop sales volume was due largely to the chip shortage and the possible lack of other key components affecting manufacturing sites in different parts of the world.

“We call it match sets, where we may have the CPU, but you don’t have the LCD, or you don’t have the Wi-Fi. Data centres are particularly struggling with some of the power chips and some of the networking or ethernet chips,” Gelsinger told CNBC.

Apart from the PC-centric side of the business, some other segments performed relatively well. Overall, adjusted revenue was up 5pc to $18.1bn.

Gelsinger told shareholders there was “record third-quarter revenue” in the data centre group and the Mobileye driver-assistance business, while the internet of things group had “an all-time record as it continued its recovery from Covid slowdowns”.

Eyes on Ireland

Intel is looking to boost its manufacturing capabilities with its IDM 2.0 plan, which will involve the combination of its existing internal factory network with third-party capacity as well as new Intel foundry services.

Ireland is a big part of this expansion plan. In March, the US-headquartered chip giant announced its intention to create 1,600 high-tech roles its Leixlip campus following the completion of an expansion that began in 2019.

The $7bn expansion is due to be completed this year, more than doubling Intel’s available manufacturing space in Ireland. Intel employs more than 10,000 people across Europe, with almost half of these employees based in Ireland.

Intel is also eyeing further expansion in Europe, investing €80bn over the next decade.

The company is in negotiations with EU leaders over where to build two new chipmaking facilities and the amount of financial support the bloc will provide for the project. Last month, Gelsinger said that Ireland is on the shortlist.

“We have gotten nominations for sites from across European countries, some 70 different sites,” Gelsinger said at the time. “We are down to about 10 finalists now that have sort of met the bar and Ireland is clearly one of those.”

Speaking on the earnings call yesterday, Gelsinger said the process to select the company’s next site in Europe is “proceeding rapidly”.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic