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Intel claws back profits in Q4 2013, says report

Intel's full-year revenue and net income figures were down from 2012 but the chip giant saw an encouraging uptick in its year-over-year numbers in the final quarter of 2013.

Intel has reported full-year sales of $52.7 billion (£35.3 billion), down 1 per cent from 2012, and profits of $9.6 billion (£5.8 billion), a 13 per cent decline. Gross margins of 59.8 per cent were down a couple of points from the previous year, while Intel's 2013 operating income also slipped 16 per cent.

But in the fourth quarter, the company had $13.8 billion (£8.4 billion) in revenue, up 2 per cent from the same period in 2012, and net income of $2.6 billion (£1.5 billion) was up 6 per cent. Intel got its gross margin back up to a more comfortable 62 per cent on the quarter.

Intel paid dividends of $1.1 billion (£6.7 million) and used $528 million (£323 million) to repurchase 22 million shares of stock in the last quarter of 2013, the company said.

"We had a solid fourth quarter with signs of stabilization in the PC segment and financial growth from a year ago," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement. "We've built a strong foundation for our business by bringing innovation to the market more quickly across a wide range of computing platforms. For example, at CES, we demonstrated multiple devices that weren't on our roadmap six months ago."

Krzanich heads up a new leadership team at Intel that took the reins following former CEO Paul Otellini's planned retirement last spring. Krzanich and Intel president Renee James have stressed the need for the company to move more quickly in mobile and other promising, fast-paced technology arenas like wearables and the Internet-of-Things (IoT), particularly given the rough sledding in the global PC market over the past few years.

"Intel had a pretty good recovery in the fourth quarter, given that the PC market was in the doldrums," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy. "Key milestones for Intel will be to get 14-nanometer parts into the market in both PCs and mobile products. Intel needs to protect PCs, carefully enter IoT clients, attack mobile, and defend the ARM-based datacenter tidal-wave-of-parts with Atom."

In addition to the CES demonstration of wearables and an SD card-sized computer using its new Quark processor, Intel made some other news in the days leading up to its fourth-quarter earnings report.

The company revealed that it has decided not to open the multi-billion-dollar, cutting-edge semiconductor fabrication plant it built in Chandler, Ariz., opting instead to retool other area facilities for production of next-generation, 14nm computer chips.

Intel also announced a new marketing program for branding cloud-based computing services using its products with an "Intel Inside"-style badge. Of course, even as Intel rolls out its new "Powered by Intel Cloud Technology" campaign to further its lead in the data centre, the company's back-end business is the one part of the portfolio that's humming right along.