Tech comes back big

The Intel logo outside of an Intel office in Santa Clara, Calif.

Kai Ryssdal: To those who've been saying there's a tech bubble lurking out there somewhere, well, you might have a point. This week has brought us a boomtime earnings season for some big name technology companies. Intel, IBM and Yahoo all posted strong profits yesterday. Apple came out this afternoon with numbers that can only boggle the mind: $24.5 billion in revenue for the quarter -- $6 billion of that pure profit.

So we got Marketplace's Steve Henn on the phone this morning and asked him to poke around and find out whether these numbers might mean that consumers and big businesses are finally starting to behave like the recession is behind us.


Steve Henn: For companies like Intel, IBM and Cisco, the credit crisis was rough. Their biggest customers -- the biggest corporations in the world -- were scared to death of spending money.

Dan Olds: Customers were hoarding cash and delaying purchases as long as possible.

Dan Olds is a tech analyst at the Gabriel Consulting Group.

Olds: Companies are feeling strong enough with their cash hordes and their market positions to be able to start loosening up their purse strings and doing some long-delayed technology refreshes.

This quarter, profits at Intel rose almost 30 percent. Even the company's executives were surprised by demand for Intel's chips. But tech analyst Darren Carris believes there is more going on here than simple pent-up demand.

Darren Carris: We are seeing a lot of very, very exciting innovations that I think are going to continue to drive tech spending and tech growth.

Sure, sleek gadgets like the iPad are luring consumers back to the market, but the real action is overseas. Carris was just in India. He thinks that new wireless networks there, combined with cheaper smartphones, could bring 120 million new Internet users online in that country in the next few years.

Carris: Anybody who is looking at what's going on in tech right now really needs to understand the implications of this kind of globalization of technology.

Consumer devices are getting lighter and cheaper -- millions now connect on phones and tablets and that's a boon for Apple and Android. But it also means big corporate computers and servers will need to carry heavier loads. And that's a boon for companies like Intel, too.

In Silicon Valley, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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