Intel Corp., the world's largest maker of chips for PCs, reports on Tuesday its results for the third quarter, which saw a sharp slowdown in worldwide PC sales.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: It's clear already that the latest quarter was a bad one for Intel and the PC industry in general. What's less clear is what this means in the long run. Were consumers holding off, waiting for the launch of Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 8, later this month, or have they permanently shifted their spending away from PCs and toward tablets and smartphones? Intel's forecast for the fourth quarter will likely weigh heavier than the results of the third quarter.
Research firms IDC and Gartner said this week that PC sales fell more than 8 percent in the third quarter from a year ago. IHS iSuppli, another firm, said that PC sales are set to fall this year for the first time since 2001.
On Thursday, Intel's chief competitor, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., said it expects its revenue to fall about 10 percent in the current quarter.
Intel hopes to be a player in chips for non-PC devices as well. The first smartphones with Intel chips have gone on sale overseas, and Windows 8 provides another chance for tablets with Intel chips to take up the competition with Apple's iPad.
WHY IT MATTERS: Intel's processors are inside about 80 percent of the world's PCs, and its results are often a bellwether for other chip companies. Its stock is one of the 30 included in the Dow Jones industrial average.
WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts expect earnings of 50 cents per share on $13.2 billion in sales. Intel has also forecast sales for $13.2 billion.
Intel usually gives a revenue forecast for the new quarter. Analysts are expecting $13.8 billion.
LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: In the third quarter of 2011, Intel earned 65 cents per share. Sales were $14.2 billion, 7 percent higher than the forecast for the most recent quarter.