Intel's losses were not just about hard drives

Analysts are not so certain that Intel was giving us the entire picture when it shaved a billion dollars off its profit forecasts earlier this week.

Chipzilla told the world that the problem was that there was too much water in Thailand and that meant that suppliers were not getting enough hard drives. It all seemed particularly plausible, given that there was suddenly a lot of water in Thailand at the time.

However,  investment broker Nomura Equity Research was not convinced. Talking to the Electronic Times, it said that was not just about hard-drives. Before Intel’s announcement it had reduced its own own estimate of Intel’s 4Q11 sales by $800 million to the same figure as Intel $13.7 billion. But not because of the flooding in Thailand.

In a note to clients entitled: “Intel finally blows up: Change in outlook may highlight issues beyond HDDs”, Nomura said Intel has bigger problems.

The report said that HDD shortages are a concern, but Nomura thinks weak sell-through is also contributing to the $1 billion shortfall. China is as soft as a baby panda’s bottom, ARM is getting better and no one wants Intel’s ultrabooks, the note said.

Nomura does not hold out much hope for Intel next year either. “We would not be surprised to see below-seasonal growth in Q1 and Q2 given lack of PC catalysts increasing ASP pressure, and slowing China and Europe,” the report said.

It has cut its forecast for Intel sales revenue in 2012 by $3 billion to $53.4 billion, which would be a fall from its estimate for Intel’s 2011 sales revenue of $53.8 billion.