Intel CEO tries to calm investor concerns about security flaws


Intel CEO Brian Krzanich opened his fourth-quarter earnings call with comments on the newly discovered Spectre and Meltdown security flaws in nearly all of Intel’s processors.

He said that the company was working “around the clock with our customers and partners” to address the flaws, and he was “acutely aware that we have more to do” beyond issuing software fixes to deal with the problems.

In the long term, Intel is implementing changes in its processors to permanently circumvent the security risks, and those processors will start appearing in the market later this year. In the near term, Intel is delivering more fixes, but Krzanich acknowledged the situation is highly dynamic and the company was updating its risk factors as a result.

“We are committed to the task and I am confident we are up to the challenge,” Krzanich said. He said he had assigned some of the best minds at Intel to deal with the problem.

Above: Inside a self-driving car with Mobileye technology.

Image Credit: Intel

Meanwhile, Intel reported fourth-quarter financials that beat estimates for earnings and revenue growth in the holiday quarter. Analysts expected Intel to report non-GAAP earnings of 86 cents a share on revenues of $ 16.34 billion in the fourth quarter. Intel reported non-GAAP earnings of $ 1.08 a share on revenues of $ 17.1 billion.

A year ago, Intel reported earnings of 79 cents on $ 16.37 billion. Intel has been cutting its expenses in order to deal with slower growth as the smartphone has superseded the PC as the primary device consumers use to communicate and surf the Internet.

Full-year revenue was $ 62.8 billion, while earnings were $ 3.46 a share, compared with $ 59.5 billion and earnings of $ 2.72 a share a year earlier. McAfee, the security software division that Intel spun out, saw revenue grow 8 percent.

In after-hours trading, Intel’s stock price is up 3.75 percent to $ 47 a share.

Intel’s client-computing group revenues were $ 9 billion in the quarter, down 2 percent. Data center revenue was $ 5.6 billion, up 20 percent. Internet of Things revenue was $ 879 million, up 21 percent. The memory group had revenue of $ 889 million, up 9 percent. And programmable solutions revenue was $ 568 million, up 35 percent.

Data-centric business was 47 percent of Intel’s Q4 revenue. During the quarter, Intel launched a record volume of Core i7 processors, and it also shipped the eighth-generation Core processor. Krzanich said Intel has 30 design wins for its Mobileye chips for self-driving cars.

Krzanich said that the PC market improved over the course of 2017 and the competitive environment intensified, but Intel stepped up and delivered record results for the full year.

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