Intel on Thursday announced not-no-special earnings for the fourth-quarter of 2017. However, one thing that caught the attention was Intel’s assurance to fix the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in its chips with a hardware solution. Another important point that the chip maker made was that the Meltdown and Spectre will have no material financial impact on Intel’s financials.
Meltdown and Spectre – no major impact
Reassuring the investors, Intel said that the company is working on a hardware approach to address the vulnerabilities. This was the first time in the past few weeks that Intel has talked about a hardware fix for the Meltdown and Spectre issue.
During the earnings call, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that the company would come up with “silicon-based changes to future products that will address the Spectre and Meltdown threats in hardware and those products will begin appearing later this year.”
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Further, talking about the financial cost related to Meltdown and Spectre, Intel said it had factored in the cost in its outlook for the first-quarter and for 2018, and still, the company expects to easily beat the expectations.
“From a costs standpoint, we’ve baked in and we’ve talked about that. We don’t expect any material impact of the security exploit on our spending on our product costs or any of that,” Krzanich said, according to MarketWatch.
Along with its outlook, Intel also factored in possible issues with Meltdown and Spectre in its risk factors statement, saying such issues “could adversely impact our results of operations.” Though Intel has factored the impact into its report, the impact of Spectre and Meltdown is clearly not visible in Intel’s stock. In after-hours trading on Thursday, the stock surged to $47.71, a level last seen in November 2000, according to FactSet data.
Intel reassures of the fix
Intel is expected to start shipping the first batch of chips with built-in protection against the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities sometime later this year, Krzanich informed. The CEO said they had assigned some of their “very best minds” to work on the issue, and that they are working “around clock” to come up with a permanent cure. Further, though the company said that they are making some real progress, it also admitted that “we’re acutely aware we have more to do.”
The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerability leverage a feature – called speculative execution – which is present in almost all Intel chips manufactured in the last twenty years. Chips from AMD and ARM architecture are also vulnerable to the Meltdown attack, making all PCs, smartphones and tablets made in recent years vulnerable to hacking.
The issue first became public earlier this month. Though Intel has issued software patches to address the issue, the result has been far from satisfactory. These software patches interfered with the performance of the PCs and also lead to frequent reboots in some cases. Earlier this week, the chip giant itself asked the users not to go for the patches.
In addition, Linux creator Linus Torvalds publicly criticized Intel, and termed the patches as “garbage.’” Now, Intel has assured that it is working on a hardware fix for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerability.
On Thursday, Intel shares closed down 0.46% at $45.30.