The chip shortage is hurting Intel laptop sales now, too

White Intel logo on glass at Computex 2015Image: Martyn Williams / IDG

Intel said Thursday that its PC business was hurt by the worldwide chip shortage, as its customers weren’t able to sell as many laptops using its parts as they would have liked.

Intel reported its third-quarter 2021 earnings on Thursday, with both profits and revenue rising compared to a year ago. The key numbers lay in the company’s Client Computing Group, however, where the company reports sales of processors and chipsets designed for laptop and desktop PCs. CCG revenue fell 2 percent to $9.7 billion compared to a year ago, Intel said.

Intel explained the reasons for the shortfall in straightforward terms: “The Client Computing Group (CCG) was down due to lower notebook volumes due to industry-wide component shortages, and on lower adjacent revenue, partially offset by higher average selling prices (ASPs) and strength in desktop,” Intel said.

Chip shortages have been the story of 2020 and much of 2021, affecting both the automotive industry as well as the processor industry. To date, those impacts have been largely felt within the GPU industry, as a combination of tight supply and scalping have driven prices up and made graphics cards and finished PCs hard to come by. Intel did not mention specifically which components were hurting sales, however.

Intel said that it’s currently shipping its upcoming “Alder Lake” processor, which the company is expected to more formally disclose soon. Intel shipped over 1 million units of its “Ice Lake” processor to date, the company said, and its “Tiger Lake” notebook processor was the fastest to ramp in the company’s history. Intel said that “Alchemist,” its first discrete GPU for gaming, is still scheduled to be “on shelves” in the first quarter on 2022.

Intel didn’t disclose any more information in advance of its earnings call, which was to take place later on Thursday. Otherwise, Intel reported $6.8 billion in net income (up 60 percent year over year) on $19.2B revenue, which was up 5 percent from a year ago. Intel’s outlook for the fourth quarter projects $19.2 billion in revenue, which would be flat compared with the current quarter and also up 5 percent compared to a year ago.

This story was updated at 1:49 PM with additional detail. A subheadline on an earlier version of this story indicated that Intel’s earnings were “lower,” when in fact that referred to PC sales.

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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