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Joined At The Chip

Wed, 05/27/2009 - 8:23am

IC companies see very different futures.

(Forbes.com) - Earlier this year, amid the doom and gloom of the financial catastrophe wrought by irresponsible lending, the technology industry did something unexpected: it pulled out of a nose-dive and set its sights skyward once again. Just listen to Paul Otellini, chief executive of Intel, the world's largest maker microchips.

"The worst is now behind us," he said in April, after Intel's first-quarter profit dropped a whopping 55% from early 2008. "We're seeing signs that a bottom in the PC segment has been reached." These comments, coming as they did in the midst of a stunning turnaround for shares of financial and real estate firms, generated more than a bit of enthusiasm from market-watchers eager to predict an end to the "downturn."

It's strange that the head of Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ - news - people ), which makes many things that rely on Intel ( INTC - news - people ) chips, said this week he sees neither a bottom nor any indicators that business is improving or worsening. "I'm not ready to call it better," Mark Hurd said in a conference call on Wednesday after announcing falling profits. The outlook is "too tough to call," he told the Associated Press.

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