In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, NVIDIA more than doubled its sales year over year, to $983 million, while last year's $0.27 GAAP loss per share turned into $0.23 of earnings per share. CEO Jen-Hsun Huang continued to point out that manufacturing issues at chipmaking outfits like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE: TSM ) are constraining NVIDIA's product output; the company is selling its chips faster than TSMC can make 'em.
Those constraints will remain over the next couple of quarters, so the usual seasonality patterns will not really apply to NVIDIA this year. Instead of falling in the first quarter, Huang believes that sales will stay roughly flat until the manufacturing problems have been sorted out.
If and when that happens, NVIDIA has a fresh technology platform ready to roll. The Fermi architecture will form the basis of everything from GeForce graphics cards to NVIDIA’s high-performance Tesla processors. In the mobile world, the company aims to grow with its Tegra application processors, introducing higher performance along with more power-efficient operation. The Tegra is of particular interest now that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) broke the ice on the tablet market, and I expect a tsunami of competing products from the likes of Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) , Sony, and Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) . Some of those will run on NVIDIA's Tegra platform rather than competing chips from Samsung, Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN ) , and others.
Tegra should stand out as a graphics powerhouse in that company, perfect for running media tablets of all shapes and sizes. Huang claims to have "multiple" design wins around Tegra with the first retail products shipping in the second quarter.
Recent reports show AMD stealing some market share from NVIDIA in the graphics market, but there seems to be plenty of pent-up demand for what NVIDIA has to offer. The stock has doubled over the last year, even after today's 7% drop, but still has a long way to go before eclipsing the mid-$30s last seen in 2007.
NVIDIA is far from dead, and actually looks ready to attack in earnest. How high can the undead climb? Discuss in the comments below.