Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), which is expected to its report fourth quarter numbers after the market closes today, may come up with lower sales and profit figures. The chip maker has been struggling with a shrinking personal computer market and a leadership transition; with the upcoming departure of Chief Executive, Paul Otellini.


The semiconductor company is estimated to post a profit of 45 cents per share, on a revenue of $13.52 billion, as per the consensus survey of analysts conducted by FactSet. For the same period last year, the company reported a profit of 64 cents a share, on a revenue of $13.89 billion.

“While we remain bullish on the group, as we believe the semi industry is at a cyclical bottom, we think shares of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) in the near term may have difficulty moving higher until there are signs of improving PC demand trends, uptick in enterprise spending, meaningful traction in the mobile market, and the appointment of new CEO,” Wedbush analyst, Betsy Van Hees said in a note.

The current plight of the PC market has been highlighted by new data from IDC and Gartner, showing a decline in the fourth quarter, despite the high-profile launch of the Windows 8 operating system.

“Anything is possible, but it seems too soon,” FBR Capital’s Craig Berger said. “April call or intra-quarter seems more realistic.

“Beyond what is the outlook for PCs, I’ll be watching their capital expenses,” he told MarketWatch.

The Santa Clara, California based company, got a boost from the shift to new data-center technologies, which lifted server chip sales. However, the economic uncertainty, mainly in Europe, raised concerns on the strength of corporate tech demand. Another threat facing the company is finding an apt replacement for Otellini, who is stepping down in May.

“Stepping back, while Intel has sustainable advantages in manufacturing, process leadership, technology leadership, and scale, tablets and smartphones are tempering growth in its core business,” FBR Capital’s Berger said in a note. “Investors are fighting the PC cannibalization tide here, with no relief in sight likely anytime soon.”

The chipmaker announced two new features for OCP (Open Compute Project); an initiative by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to improve the efficiency of data centers. The first is adoption of Intel’s 100G photonics Ethernet connector for high-speed communication between server chips in the rack, expected to be launched later this year. Secondly, Facebook contributed hardware architecture to OCP that will allow server motherboards to be vendor-neutral. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD), Applied Micro (not rated), and Calxeda (private company) will support the new hardware architecture. A report from Nomura, rates “this announcement as positive for ARM vendors such as Applied Micro (not rated) and Calxeda, as well as AMD. We expect commercial availability in 2014.”