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Intel earnings show a company holding steady even as PC sales tumble

Growth in its data center and Internet of Things divisions helped Intel avoid a sharp decline

Intel reported its fourth quarter earnings today, and the numbers were a stark reminder that the golden age of the personal computer has passed. While Intel crowed that it set a new record for quarterly revenue, the $14.9 billion it brought in during the last three months of 2015 was just 1 percent more than it did during the same period in 2014. And overall revenue for 2015 was down 1 percent from the year before.

Yesterday Gartner released its report on global PC sales, showing an 8.3 percent decline. Intel's financials tracked that drop very closely, with revenue in its Client Computing Group down 8 percent year over year. That division is far and away the largest, representing about three-fifths of Intel's total revenue, and the decline there dragged down software and services as well. Luckily for the company, it saw 11 percent annual growth in revenue for its second largest division, data centers, and good growth in its business around the Internet of Things and non-volatile memory solutions.

"Our 2015 results demonstrate that Intel is evolving and our strategy is working," said CEO Brian Krzanich. "This year, we’ll continue to drive growth by powering the infrastructure for an increasingly smart and connected world." It was easy to see this evolution on display last week at CES. Intel showed off devices to track athletes' movement's and user's health, chips and sensors to power hoverboard butlers and to fly autonomous drones. What it didn't show off were any new laptops.