Intel earnings expected to weather the Meltdown and Spectre

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On the back of Intel's end of year earnings report last night Brian Krzanich took the opportunity to reassure investors that they were on top of the security holes that have scared the bejesus out of the tech industry over the last few months. However, one thing that caught the attention was Intel's assurance to fix the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in its chips with a hardware solution.

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.

"We are committed to the task and I am confident we are up to the challenge", Krzanich said.

In the fourth quarter, sales climbed 4.3 percent to $17.1 billion, Intel said.

The company's total revenue for the quarter was up 4 percent year over year.

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.

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"We're working to incorporate silicon-based changes to future products that will directly address the Spectre and Meltdown threats in hardware", he said.

In the fourth quarter, Intel announced that it had hired the head of AMD's graphics business, Raja Koduri, and that it would begin making discrete graphics cards - an area where Nvidia is the market leader.

Despite the fact its chips have been at the center of the Spectre and Meltdown storm, Intel has not yet seen an impact to its bottom line, executives reported yesterday during the company's earnings call. Realistically the problems aren't going to be a big issue for most of us PC gamers, unless we like to run the odd data centre and rely heavily on virtualisation.

"They may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior", Intel data center group executive vice president Navin Shenoy said in an online post.

"The security of our products is critical for Intel, our customers and partners, and for me, personally".

Intel's Brian Krzanich has stated that processors immune to the Spectre and Meltdown speculative execution vulnerabilities will be released by the company before the end of the year - meaning that if you're planning an upgrade in the near future, you'd be well advised to wait. Another important point that the chip maker made was that the Meltdown and Spectre will have no material financial impact on Intel's financials. Separately, the publicity around recently disclosed security vulnerabilities may result inincreased attempts by third parties to identify additional vulnerabilities, and future vulnerabilities and mitigation of those vulnerabilities may also adversely impact our results of operations, customer relationships, and reputation.

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