It's been a busy week for Intel
A mixed bag
If the market is the ultimate judge, than Intel's quarterly results disappointed. Shares dipped 2% in after-hours trading yesterday because of news that profit fell 13%, on revenue of $12.9 billion. Still, Intel beat the street with earnings per share of $0.53, while analysts had predicted $0.50 per share for the period. The mixed results continued with Intel forecasting an optimistic outlook for the second quarter, although the chip maker also warned that its gross profit margin would slump.
However, declining margins shouldn't be a complete surprise. Intel is in a transitional period, and capital expenditures are through the roof. To capture future growth opportunities, Intel needs to tap into the mobile industry for growth. That means there's a lot riding on the success of its chips for use in smartphone devices.
A crowded market
The market for smartphone processors is on track to reach $58.6 billion by 2014 -- growth that Intel can't afford to miss. The company has tried its hand in the mobile-computing segment before, only to lose countless deals to Qualcomm
The chips used inApple's
Early tests showed that Intel's new Medfield Atom chips were able to match the performance and battery life of rival ARM's processors. Now that Intel finally has a foot in the mobile market, it faces the bigger challenge of getting major players like Apple to adopt its chips. Intel's processors are already used in Apple's laptop and desktop computers, so it would be a natural fit. However, it's not going to happen overnight.
How to play it
These ongoing product and platform upgrades are crucial for Intel as it tries to stay relevant in a post-PC world. But, a massive transition like this doesn't come without a cost. In this case, the company plans to dish out more than $12 billion in capital expenditures this year, which is up from just $5 billion in 2010. This doesn't change the fact that Intel is a good company, and over the long term I think it will emerge stronger because of its entry into growth markets like mobile.
However, I don't like Intel as an investment right now. While we won't know for sure until the new Intel-powered phones launch later this week, it could be a serious growth driver for the company down the road. For now, I encourage you to add the stock to My Watchlist -- The Motley Fool's free tool that lets you track and monitor your favorite stocks.