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Opinion: Intel appears to be feeling the competitive heat from AMD

Intel Corp.’s data center sales keep declining as Advanced Micro Devices Corp.’s sales keep growing, and it seems Intel is finally doing something about it. a While Intel’s second-quarter earnings easily surpassed expectations Thursday, revenue from server chips declined 9%, an improvement from a 20% plunge in the first quarter. Data-center chips are a hot growth area that has greatly helped rivals AMD.AMD,
and Nvidia Corp.
(which is now worth more than Intel).

appears to be addressing the issue by showing a willingness to chop prices while fighting with AMD for customers and reorganizing its data center operations. Investors will have to find cheer in that because a so-so third-quarter forecast, despite an unprecedented and continuing semiconductor shortage, sent shares down 2.6% in after-hours trading Thursday. Declines in Intel’s overall average selling price, or ASP, significantly raised eyebrows. Intel executives said “strength in consumer entry and education” products led to lower overall ASPs. Still, Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger later admitted in answering an analyst’s question that competitive factors played an important role.


“Some of that’s competitive-driven, a little bit of that is mix-driven, but a bit more competitive,” Gelsinger said. “Our outlook there is that we see fairly stable pricing and market segment share in the data-center business for the second half of the year, and that’s driven by I’ll just say we are bringing everything we’ve got to the table to continue to win back the market.” The company’s chief financial officer, George Davis, predicted that the data center would return to growth in the third and fourth quarters. But falling prices could also affect margins. An analyst with CFRA Research, Angelo Zino, said in a brief note after the call that he has “concerns around the competitive landscape” due to pricing declines in the company’s computing and data center segments.

He also expects to see several gross margin pressures in the future. Gelsinger also said that Intel’s recent reorganization last month focuses more on the high-performance computing business, where AMD has also made major inroads. AMD is gaining ground in the supercomputer space, with its Epyc chips now powering 49 of the top 500 supercomputers, up from 11 of the top 500 supercomputers a year ago. While consecutive declines in the data center sector are a bad sign for Intel, its new CEO seems willing to fight back against a resurgent rival in AMD. But he will need to follow through on the company’s prediction that growth to that all-important business will return in the second half.


I have always enjoyed writing and reading other people's blogs. I started writing a journal as a teenager and have since written numerous books and articles. My blog is a place where I can write freely about my personal interests and those of others.

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