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Nvidia surpasses expectations

The Silicon Valley graphics chipmaker tops analyst expectations for both revenue and earnings per share.

Nvidia beat the Street on Wednesday, posting better-than-expected earnings.

The graphics chipmaker earned $31.1 million, or 38 cents per share, on revenue of $218.2 million in its fourth quarter. The company earned 19 cents per share on revenue of $128.5 million in the same period a year earlier.

A consensus of analysts expected the company to earn 37 cents per share on revenue of $215.6 million, according to First Call.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's full-year revenue of $735.3 million also topped analyst estimates of $731 million.

Despite a slowdown in the overall PC market, Nvidia has been on a roll as of late, grabbing market share from its chief competitor ATI Technologies. It also recently purchased the assets of struggling graphics chipmaker 3dfx Interactive.

In a conference call with analysts, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang expressed confidence that the company will continue to grow.

"We are expecting to grow at 8 percent sequentially," said Huang, comparing Nvidia's current quarter with its fourth quarter.

Christine Hoberg, Nvidia's chief financial officer, predicted that the company's revenue will increase 8 percent again in its second quarter and then another 12 to 15 percent in its third and fourth quarters.

Huang said the growth will come from several areas, including an ongoing transition from the company's TNT2 line of graphics chips to its newer GeForce2 chips, which began shipping in the summer.

Nvidia expects to gain market share against competitors in the desktop arena, such as ATI Technologies, and via its entry into the mobile graphics market with its GeForce2 Go chip, as well as in the Macintosh and workstation markets, Huang said.

The company will also see a bump up from the Xbox. It will provide the graphics chip for the forthcoming game console from Microsoft.

"In a lot of ways, our business is growing right now. We're cautious of the (slowing) marketplace, but we're going to continue to take share and continue to grow," Huang said.