The cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street had predicted that Intel would report an adjusted $1.11 in per-share profit, which was down 22 percent from the year-ago period. They also expected it to report revenues of $18.26 billion in Q3, down a more modest five percent compared to the year-ago Q3.
While Intel did better than that making a $18.3 billion, and met earnings-per-share estimates of $1.11, on an adjusted basis the devil was in the detail.
Intel reported a weakness in the company data-focused business unit, the smaller of Intel's two halves - the other focuses on PC chips.
The data-side of Intel, its Data Centre Group (DCG) which should have been coining it in had mixed results. While it had cloud revenue growth of 15 percent DCG "Enterprise & Government" business shrank 47 percent compared to the year-ago period, following what Intel described as "two quarters of more than 30 percent growth".
Off that weakness, the resulting top line miss was sharp, with the market expecting $6.22 billion in revenue and DCG only delivering $5.9 billion.
Intel blamed COVID-19 for the weak economics conditions at play in the result but that is a little strange given that other cloud and data centre businesses grew during the same period. The company also highlighted COVID-19 when it discussed results from its internet of things business and memory operation, which declined 33 percent and 11 percent on a year-over-year basis.