There's nothing wrong with being a gambler -- as long as you're betting on the right puppies. Fortunately for Analog Devices (NYSE:ADI), that's exactly what its management did a couple of years ago.

The semiconductor maker's first quarter wasn't pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Revenue fell 22% from last year's levels, landing at $477 million. Diluted earnings per share stopped at $0.08, or $0.18 if you exclude restructuring charges. Either way, it's a steep drop from last year's $0.40 per share.

The good news is that Analog's largest divisions saw less severe drops in sales than its smaller segments. The industrial segment accounts for more than half of Analog's business, selling chips to car makers, medical device designers, and other heavy industries. That segment's revenue dropped 22%, as the troubles of Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM), and other auto giants dragged down the smaller declines in other subsectors. But at least the company doesn't cater exclusively to automakers.

The big bummers were the computer power chips, down 35%, and the products going into consumer electronics, which plunged a painful 40%. But those segments account for a mere 19% of Analog's sales, combined. And communications, which is Analog's second-largest division at 27% of revenue, only saw its top line drop a tiny 3%. Wait a second. Aren't there Analog chips in cell phones? And aren't the likes of Motorola (NYSE:MOT) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) severely ill at the moment?

Well, yes and yes. But Analog has been moving out of the handset business and gaining more exposure to the infrastructure side of mobile communications. So when Verizon (NYSE:VZ) announced a huge 4G order the other day, it was good for this company, too. Analog's baseband chips will probably power at least some of those 10,000 new base stations. And even if not, the deal is good news for the whole mobile infrastructure supply chain, including Analog and rivals like Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN).

So again, Analog seems to be betting on a few good puppies. The company remains both profitable and cash-flow positive, with tight inventory controls and stable dividends. You could do a lot worse than placing a wager on this gambler.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy knows when to hold 'em, fold 'em, walk away, and/or run.