Anyone familiar with the wildly cyclical chip market would have seen that the death of semiconductor stocks was greatly exaggerated. Quality companies like Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) eventually bounce back.

So it's payback time for the naysayers, as Intel turns in a pulse-quickening third quarter. The top line grew by 20% as earnings more than doubled to a Wall Street-thumping $0.25 a share. The sequential improvement was also noteworthy.

Intel rocks. Again. But, if we're allowed a moment to cock our brows for a cynical correction, let's not let the victors rewrite history.

"Our resolve to invest aggressively during the downturn is paying off with double-digit revenue growth and a doubling of profit compared to a year ago," CEO Craig Barrett said last night.

Hold on there. Isn't this the Intel that had worrywarts checking for falling skies this summer after the company refused to raise its 2003 capital spending levels? And back then the company was looking to spend as much as $3.9 billion. That ceiling was revised downward to $3.7 billion last night. That's a far cry from the $5 billion in capital spending that Intel allocated just a couple years back.

Intel had a strong quarter, but that doesn't give it the right to redefine the term "invest aggressively," does it? Sure, rival AMD (NYSE:AMD) doesn't have the resources to outspend Intel, but let's be fair here.

All that having been said, let's take that cocked brow back down and applaud not only the company's third-quarter results but also its fourth-quarter outlook. Intel is looking for revenue to come in between $8.1 billion and $8.7 billion.

That's a significant sequential improvement over the third quarter's already healthy $7.8 billion in production. Gross margins will also be bumping higher. So, keep the good news coming Intel. We may let you rewrite that dictionary yet.

What did you think of Intel's third-quarter report? Is the company truly back? All this and more -- in the Intel discussion board. Only on