Nvidia continued to see demand for its graphics processors in the emerging world of artificial intelligence in its fourth quarter earnings reported Thursday. In its fourth quarter earnings release, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company reported revenue of $2.17 billion, up 55% year over year, on earnings per share of $1.13, up 117% a year ago. Wall Street analysts estimated $2.11 billion in revenue on EPS of 83 cents. Traditionally, the company's processors have been mostly used to power the latest gaming graphics, but the chips have become popular to run AI software in the data center and autonomous vehicles. A specific branch of AI, called deep learning, is where Nvidia's processors particularly shine.
Revenue was up 54% from last year and beat analysts' expectations by over $300 million. Nvidia used to be a little company making graphics chips for PCs, but it's well on the way to transforming into one of the leading computing platforms for cloud servers, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Fortunately for Nvidia, it turns out that the kinds of tasks graphics chips are good at--like processing many, many simple calculations at the same time--are just what's needed to run analysis programs in a cloud data center, steer a self-driving car, or pilot an automated drone. Thursday brought more evidence that the company's successful transition is in full swing. Nvidia NVDA reported third quarter results that blew through Wall Street expectations, and its stock price, which had already doubled this year, rose another 15% in after-hours trading.
Nvidia reported earnings that beat expectations and showed that the company's focus on artificial intelligence is still paying off. For the past decade, Nvidia has been rising above graphics chips for gamers, expanding to parallel processing in data centers and lately to artificial intelligence processing for deep learning neural networks and self-driving cars. The company reported earnings per share of $1.33 (up 60 percent from a year ago) on revenue of $2.6 billion (up 32 percent), beating Wall Street's expectations. The company's stock price is up more than 100 percent in the past year on the popularity of artificial intelligence. But it slumped during the day on Thursday, along with the broader market.
Intel, the world's largest semiconductor company, aims to gain the upper hand in the budding field of artificial intelligence with a new lineup of chip products in 2017, a senior executive said. Vice President Raejeanne B. Skillern's comments came as Intel's main rival in the AI chip market, Nvidia, is working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. on chip products that can handle massive amounts of video, images and voice recognition tasks. "Nvidia has gotten a very tiny piece of the market right now," Skillern told the Nikkei Asian Review in early December. "We take the competition very seriously. While Intel controls 98% of the global market for data center server chips, Nvidia's graphics-oriented products have become the preferred option for internet titans like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, along with researchers striving to train computers to recognize complex patterns and objects.
Graphics chipmaker Nvidia said the sharp growth of its deep learning technology helped the company wrap up its first fiscal quarter of 2017 above estimates. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company reported a net income of 196 million, or 33 cents per share (statement). Non-GAAP earnings were 46 cents per share on revenue of 1.3 billion, up 13 percent year-over-year. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 32 cents per share with 1.26 billion in revenue. "Accelerating our growth is deep learning, a new computing model that uses the GPU's massive computing power to learn artificial intelligence algorithms," said Nvidia CEO and co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang, in a statement.