Demand for processors pushed the company’s full-year figures beyond its forecasts – but there will be big challenges in the year ahead.
Intel’s revenues were up 8pc in 2020 thanks in part to stronger PC sales and demand for its processors.
The company said this spike was “driven by record PC-centric revenue” with a 33pc bump in sales of devices with Intel chips.
The increase in sales of PCs and laptops may be explained by the demand for equipment for remote working and studying during the pandemic.
Revenue for the fourth quarter was down 1pc year on year to $20bn but full-year revenue for 2020 came in at $77.9bn, up from a record $72bn last year, with net income of $20.9bn. Revenue increases could be seen its data centre division and Mobileye, its self-driving car business.
The results will strike a positive note for outgoing chief executive Bob Swan, who is stepping down in February. New CEO Pat Gelsinger, previously head of VMWare, will take the reins next month at the chipmaker.
“We significantly exceeded our expectations for the quarter, capping off our fifth consecutive record year,” Swan said. “Demand for the computing performance Intel delivers remains very strong and our focus on growth opportunities is paying off.”
Despite the rosy results for 2020, Intel has faced its share of challenges in recent years with the company losing market share to chief rival AMD and other competitors. It has also faced delays in bringing its 7-nanometer chips to market while its client base’s needs have evolved.
Apple, a long-time client of Intel’s, cut ties with the company last year to develop its own chips for Macs, mirroring a trend at other companies of bringing their processor making in-house. Intel did however announce a new deal with Amazon Web Services in the last quarter.
The last few weeks have still been rocky for Intel as the Swan era comes to an end. At the tail end of December, hedge fund Third Point urged the chipmaker to significantly reshuffle several elements of its business, including divesting some of its units.
The coming year may bring further challenges with the transition to a new CEO, but Intel did not provide a revenue forecast for 2021.