It's pretty cool to see a whole bunch of my favorite high-tech Foolish newsletter picks working together to generate brisk business for one another. That's what happened last night, when networking chip designer and Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick Atheros
OK, Atheros' overall results were anything but comforting. Sales shrank by 14% from 2007, and $0.17 of non-GAAP earnings per share compares badly with the $0.36 per share a year earlier. But that was a given, since Atheros serves some of the sectors hardest hit by this recession, like PC systems and high-end cell phones. "The business environment in the fourth quarter was clearly difficult," said CEO Craig Barratt.
No kidding. Sales to the PC sector declined 37% from the third quarter, and the enterprise division reported a 40% sequential decrease. About the only positive takeaway here is that Atheros finally added Dell
But there's a serious bright spot, too, and it comes from a very unexpected place. The consumer segment nearly doubled, led by brisk sales of the Nintendo DSi handheld game system. Also, a longtime partnership with Qualcomm
So the consumer division rides to Atheros' rescue, while everyone else seems to complain about complacent retail customers. And there's more of that to come, as Atheros is still eyeing untapped markets. "We are encouraged by our design win opportunities as we enter 2009," Barratt said. For example, Apple may be a customer already, but the iPhone 3G comes with a WiFi chip from Marvell Technology
Atheros' success leans on a broad cooperation that includes four other newsletter stocks, if you consider that the chip maker is a member of Google's
While the networking-chip designer might be feeling the pinch in its PC-sector sales, its successful consumer offerings give the company the additional stability it needs to offset huge reductions in that PC market. Building a leadership position while the semiconductor industry is in the doldrums should position Atheros for fabulous success when the tables turn again.
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Atheros Communications is a Hidden Gems recommendation. Dell is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Nintendo and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. OK, he's addicted to his Wii, too. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.