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This week in earnings

Intel, Yahoo, AMD and Apple give mixed messages on the health of the U.S. tech industry.

Silicon Valley gave mixed messages on the health of the tech industry this week.

Lower prices and lower-than-expected processor shipments dented Intel's earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter. The company also forecast slower growth in 2006.

CEO Paul Otellini said the fourth-quarter shortfall can be attributed in part to a shortage of desktop chipsets. The shortage, which began in the third quarter, prevented PC makers from building as many Intel-based PCs as they might have, he said.

The effects of the shortage will linger in the first quarter because now PC makers have excess supplies of some chips. This will likely dampen Intel's revenue in the current three months.

The same day, Internet bellwether Yahoo posted net income for the fourth quarter that rose from a year ago but was below analyst expectations. Yahoo met its internal guidance and gained market share against other portal rivals, including Google and MSN. However, net income came in lower than analyst expectations.

Advanced Micro Devices seemed unaffected by the kinds of woes that hurt its rival. AMD topped expectations for fourth-quarter revenue on the back of strong processor sales across desktops, notebooks and servers.

The real driver behind AMD's strong revenue growth was its processor unit. The Computation Product Group, which makes the company's Opteron, Athlon 64 and Turion processors, enjoyed a 79 percent increase in revenue compared with the total in the previous year's fourth quarter.

Apple Computer offered a mixed picture. After selling a bundle of iPods over the holidays, Apple reported better-than-expected earnings, but offered an outlook that was below some analysts' forecasts.

For the just-ended quarter, Apple's sales were a record, but they did not come as a surprise. CEO Steve Jobs announced at Macworld Expo last week that the company had about $5.7 billion in revenue for the December quarter. He also announced that the company sold 14 million iPods and 1.25 million Macs.