Intel tops Q4 estimates thanks to data centers, Internet of Things units

Intel is kicking off the first tech earnings season of 2016 with end of year results for 2015.

Intel published fourth quarter and end of year financial results after the bell on Thursday.

For the final quarter of 2015, the tech giant reported a net income of $3.6 billion, or 77 cents per share (statement).

Non-GAAP earnings were 74 cents per share on a revenue of $14.9 billion.

Wall Street was looking for earnings of 63 cents per share with $14.80 billion in revenue.

Intel CFO Stacy Smith highlighted in a separate statement that the chip maker raked in "record revenues in the Data Center and the Internet of things businesses," fueling the better-than-expected results.

The data center unit rang up $4.3 billion in revenue during the quarter, up five percent year-over-year. The Internet of Things business grew slightly more at a rate of six percent year-over-year to deliver $625 million in revenue.

Meanwhile, software slipped by three percent annually to $543 million in revenue.

The client computing group was more of a mixed bag, down one percent year-over-year but growing three percent from the previous quarter to $8.8 billion in revenue.

The annual results for the client computing group are a little more telling as volume was down across the board for desktops, notebooks and tablets -- yet selling prices were all up in the high single digits to mid-teens.

Nevertheless, Intel maintained an optimistic front for its hardware interests, highlighting 14-nanometer products made up more than 50 percent of of the client computing group volume as of November while boasting "growing enthusiasm" for its sixth-generation Core processor, code named "Skylake."

For 2015 overall, Intel as a whole posted $55.4 billion in revenue with earnings of $2.33 per share.

"Our 2015 results demonstrate that Intel is evolving and our strategy is working," reflected Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, in prepared remarks. "This year, we'll continue to drive growth by powering the infrastructure for an increasingly smart and connected world."

For the first quarter of 2016, Wall Street is looking for non-GAAP earnings of 50 cents per share with $13.85 billion in revenue.

Intel answered with a projected Q1 revenue guidance of $14.1 billion, plus or minus $500 million. For 2016, Intel predicted revenue will grow by "mid to high single digits."

The processor brand stressed its outlook could be hampered by a few different factors, including the recently completed, $16.7 billion acquisition of Altera as well as an additional week during the first quarter with 2016 being a 53-week year.