Intel: We're better at projecting PC sales than IDC, Gartner

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said third party research firms have it all wrong when it comes to PC sales. Why? They don't track so-called white boxes in emerging markets well.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said third party research firms have it all wrong when it comes to PC sales.

Both IDC and Gartner have cut growth projections for 2011 PC sales. The argument is that tablets are usurping PC sales.

On a conference call following Intel's earnings (statement), Otellini said he was bullish on the PC market in 2011 and 2012. He also said that Intel has been able to project PC sales with greater accuracy. Specifically, Otellini said:

Like many of you, I noted that some of the third-party research firms issued reduced forecasts for PCs in 2011. I want to be clear that our views differ from some of theirs. The PC business has evolved into a global industry that is approaching 400 million units this year. While some channels like PCs sold through consumer retail outlets and mature markets have deep visibility, other channels, especially in emerging markets, are not well reflected in the forecasts of third-party firms until shipments from Intel and its competitors have been reconciled. Over the last five years, we have put considerable effort into improving our visibility with systems like just-in-time inventory hubs for our major customers, as well as realtime metrics to monitor sales through all of our worldwide channels. As a result, we were able to call the inflection in our business in Q1 of 2009 as well as predicting 2010 growth to within 1 point of accuracy. Our projections for PC segment growth in 2011 remain in the low double-digit range, based on early sell-through strength we are seeing as we begin 2011, and the great reception to Sandy Bridge in both consumer and enterprise segments. And while it's too early to call 2012, with an improving global economy, we see no reason for growth to be materially different from what we see in 2011.

The reason third parties can't track emerging market PC sales well? Otellini said many emerging markets are dominated by white-box manufacturers using Intel chips. The upshot: Just because Dell, HP and others are falling short doesn't mean that PCs aren't selling. In other words, white box PCs rock emerging markets.

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