Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) just issued a press release giving the schedule for its upcoming investor meeting, set for Nov. 20. The schedule includes full sessions dedicated to the company's broad corporate strategy, chip manufacturing technology, data center group, and PC client group. What seems strange, though, is that the company is lumping together the presentations from the Mobile, Internet of Things, and Non-Volatile Memory divisions into one big session. As if that weren't enough, the heads of those divisions are referred to as "guest speakers."
While I completely understand that the divisions that make big bucks for Intel perhaps deserve more stage time than the divisions that don't contribute as meaningfully, the mobile division within Intel is a special case.
Mobile brings in negligible revenues, burning through significant shareholder dollars
Intel's mobile group is an interesting one. Of the company's formal operating segments, it appears to generate the least revenue, with the segment pulling in just $208 million in revenue over the past three quarters. The division has lost approximately $3.1 billion year to date, wiping out over half of the operating profits that its data center group pulled in that same time.
Intel is investing significant research and development dollars into this business, but to date the payoff hasn't been great. As a long-term investor in Intel, I would argue that a deep dive into how Intel is focusing its investments here and how it plans to emerge a long-term winner in this business is crucial to giving shareholders confidence that this investment is not in vain.
Perhaps CFO Stacy Smith's presentation will tell us all we need to know
Another interesting tidbit here is that Intel's CFO is scheduled to begin his presentation at 9:40 a.m ET. Stacy Smith will probably give financial guidance by segment, which will no doubt include the mobile group. Smith is also likely to talk about the "big picture" trends for the mobile group, leaving perhaps a more detailed discussion to Hermann Eul, the general manager of the division, who is scheduled as a "guest speaker" in the "Intel platform technology investments" segment scheduled for 1:45 p.m.
Further, I have found that Smith, despite his position as CFO, tends to have a very strong understanding of how Intel's technology ties into the financials of Intel's businesses. Perhaps Intel is betting that Smith's presentation will tell investors just about everything they need to know with respect to mobile, with Eul serving to add further details for those relative few who want to know more.
One more thing
One final thing to note is that Eul is scheduled to present at the Nasdaq investor program in London on Dec. 3. It seems likely that he will go into greater detail about the company's mobile strategy there. Further, Intel doesn't appear to have a Q&A session scheduled that involves Eul during this week's investor meeting, so this would be a good time for the analysts that attend the Nasdaq event to dig even deeper.
While I remain hopeful that Intel will eventually pull it together in mobile, the company's recent silence with respect to its mobile efforts has been positively deafening. An optimist may view this as Intel keeping its cards close to its chest, but the pessimists may take this to mean, quite simply, that Intel's hand is no good.