The big buzz word in technology these days is efficiency. And even the quarterly earnings conference calls aren't immune from some change. Intel today altered the process a bit today when it issued its CFO's summary of the company's third quarter financials (PDF) ahead of the call, leaving more time for questions from analysts.
I have to admit that I thought Wall Street analysts would want to know more about the launch of Windows 7 in the fourth quarter and the holiday season. Instead, they want to know what's up for 2010, which is fast becoming the Year of Recovery. Analysts questions are all over the place in an earnings call but here's a bullet point sampling of the types of things analysts are asking:
- Has there been any notable impact on the supply chain because of Windows 7 arrival? The short answer is that there is excitement around Windows 7 but that the recent upticks stem in part from a trend driven by consumer sales of notebooks - and that's expected to stay on track for Q4. As for the corporate side, the feeling is that companies will spend the quarter testing and evaluating Windows 7 in their environments this quarter but that refresh purchases won't kick in until 2010.
- So businesses aren't buying now? Intel say it is seeing some movement on the corporate side for servers - but not clients - or PCs - just yet. There's a broad assumption that Intel will companies will undergo a refresh in 2010 - but the big question is when, in 2010, will they open their checkbooks. The fact of the matter is that some of these XP machines that were kept in service because of a Vista bypass are old now and are costing more to keep - what with maintenance costs, out-of-warranty costs an security upgrades - than it would to replace it.
- What is the outlook for Atom in 2010? Netbooks are growing and will continue to grow. But the uptick trend in notebook sales have proven that the notebook market is alive and well and that the belief that netbooks are more of an "additive" to, as opposed to a replacement for, notebooks.
- Will budget line items, such as R&D spending, that were previously cut be replenished as things improve? The company said cuts are pretty much history now and that the job at-hand is to improve spending as a percentage of revenue. The company will definitely be smaller next year because of cuts but that the next focus on the "growth phase of the efficiency effort.