Inside Intel: Bloomberg says chip maker may be headed for first loss in a long, long time

intel-logoIntel said that it is uncertain whether or not it will be able to report a profit for its current quarter, according to a memo its chief executive, Paul Otellini, sent to the chip makers employees last week, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News which reported the news late Tuesday.

After 87 quarters of profit, the first quarter is “too close to call,” the memo said, according to Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg unsuccessfully sought confirmation from long-time Intel spokesman Chuck Molloy, who declined, saying the company doesn’t comment on confidential employee communications.

Intel declined to give any guidance on sales for its 2009 first quarter, the first time that has happened in Otellini’s 34-year career with the company, according to Bloomberg’s report on the memo.

However,  Jim Goldman of CNBC said an Intel source told him that the supposed employee memo Bloomberg cited was probably a transcript of a Q&A session Otellini held with employees following Intel’s release of fourth quarter earnings last week. Writes Goldman, “This source says, to draw the conclusion from that exchange that Intel is projecting a first quarter loss is a ‘stretch.'”

Goldman himself took some flak last week in the wake of Apple’s announcement that  Steve Jobs would be stepping down temporarily as CEO to deal with a more complicated health picture than he’d previously described. Goldman blasted reports in December claiming that health problems were behind Jobs’ non-appearance at this month’s MacWorld in San Francisco.

 

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