Intel cuts revenue forecast as tablets and smartphones eat into PC sales

PC sales plunged 14% in first three months of 2013, the biggest decline in two decades

Showgoers visit the Intel booth on the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

Showgoers visit the Intel booth on the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

 

Intel said its current-quarter revenue would decline as much as 8 per cent and trimmed its 2013 capital spending plans, as personal computer sales drop due to the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones.

Shares in the world's largest chip maker rallied as much as 3 per cent after hours but quickly gave up the gains.

The stock had been battered over the past week after researcher IDC revealed that PC sales notched a record quarterly decline in the first quarter.

Despite persistently weak demand for PCs, Intel held firm on its previous forecast that 2013 revenue would grow by a low single-digit percentage, a target some analysts believe is becoming more difficult to hit.

Chief financial officer Stacy Smith told analysts on a conference call after

Intel's earnings report that its upcoming Haswell chip, as well as new ultrathin laptops and an improving economy, would revive growth in the second half of the year.

"That scares the hell out of me. They are holding to the same ultra-bullish forecast they gave before," said Stacy Rasgon, an analyst at Bernstein Research. "They are presumably pretty bullish on the new products they are planning." Personal computer sales plunged 14 per cent in the first three months of the year, the biggest decline in the two decades on record, as tablets grew more popular and buyers seemed to be avoiding Microsoft Corp's new Windows 8 operating system, according to IDC.

Under pressure, Intel also said in its quarterly news release that it was reducing 2013 capital spending from $13 billion to $12 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

Intel said its first-quarter revenue fell to $12.58 billion from $12.91 billion in the year-ago quarter. The world's largest chipmaker forecast June-quarter revenue of $12.9 billion, plus or minus $500 million. Compared to the second quarter of last year, that amounts to roughly no change or a drop of as much as 8 percent.