Intel's PC business is up 33 percent thanks to cheap notebooks

The company's overall revenue was $2.6 billion higher than expected.

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We already know that 2020 was a huge year for PC shipments, now Intel is confirming that report with explosive fourth quarter earnings results. The chipmaker says its PC business was up 33 percent compared to last year, with notebook revenue in particular growing by a healthy 30 percent. Intel's Client Computing Group, which houses its PC products, reached $10.9 billion in revenue during the quarter, a 9 percent jump over last year. What's most interesting is that the average price for notebooks fell by 15 percent, which tells us that people definitely needed new computers as they faced the COVID-19 pandemic, but they weren't willing to pay a premium.

Intel's strong PC sales, along with a surprising 39 percent jump in its Mobileye self-driving technology division, helped the company surpass its revenue expectations from October by $2.6 billion. The company reported $20 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, with profits of $5.9 billion. Those figures were actually down 1 percent and 15 percent from last year, respectively, but the company is still celebrating.

“Tiger Lake demand looks strong on the PC side and I think, based on its 33% growth, likely gained market share,” Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights and Strategy, said in a statement. “While the datacenter business did better than expected, it was weighed down by the cloud ingestion cycle, competition, and continued decline in enterprise and government purchases. Mobileye was a huge standout, driving 39% quarterly revenue growth and 93% improvement in profitability. Mobileye is on its way to be an over billion dollar annualized business, a real accomplishment.”

Intel isn't offering any full year guidance for 2021 until its new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, takes the helm in February. But for now, the company expects its first quarter earnings to hit around $17.5 billion.