Intel's Q2 Smashes Records—Again

Intel's results for the second quarter of 2011 are a model of strong execution, high performance, and continued market dominance. So much so, in fact, that writing these reports has actually become a teensy bit boring. (Note to Intel: We expect precious little sympathy.) The nature of some of the records has changed, and a few key figures have fluctuated, but if you don't care about the details you can stop reading now, secure in the knowledge that Intel spent Q2 earning revenue hand over fist. 

Intel reported $13 billion in revenue this past quarter, up $2.3 billion and 21 percent from Q2 2010 and two percent from Q1. The company's gross margin fell to a healthy 61 percent (down 6.6 points from Q2 2010's record-breaking 67.6 percent) while net income was $3.0 billion (up two percent year-on-year).

"We achieved a significant new milestone in the second quarter, surpassing $13.0 billion in revenue for the first time," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. "Strong corporate demand for our most advanced technology, the surge of mobile devices, and Internet traffic fueling data center growth, and the rapid rise of computing in emerging markets drove record results. Intel's 23 percent revenue growth in the first half and our increasing confidence in the second half of 2011 position us to grow annual revenue in the mid-20 percent range."

Intel's PC Client Group and Data Center Group both grew revenue year-on-year, up 11 percent and 15 percent respectively, while 'other' Intel architecture groups grew revenue by 84 percent. Atom, meanwhile, continued to slide, with revenue of just $352 million (down five percent from Q1 and 15 percent year-on-year). Overall platform selling prices were flat from Q1, but up from 2010. Santa Clara reports that inventory levels remain low and that demand for Sandy Bridge has turned it into the fastest product ramp in the company's history. The CPU already accounts for more than 50 percent of all Core-derived revenue, and is on track to replace older products in the next few quarters.

The company expects the second half of 2011 to be strong, with multiple product refreshes inbound over the next five months. Intel is expected to launch the first set of 32nm Atom processors (codenamed Cedar Trail) in Q3 of this year, while the next-generation 'Romley' server platform will bring new features and support for quad-channel memory.

Ultrabooks--thin, light, and tiny almost-but-not-quite-like-tablet systems are expected to begin debuting at the end of this year. Ultrabooks will be 0.8" thick or less; at least some will be based on Sandy Bridge. Asus has already demonstrated their UX21, claiming that the new form factor "will change the way people interact with their PC."