Last night, Intel announced its results for the first calendar quarter of 2009, with net income falling year over year from $1.44 billion to $647 million and sales down 26 percent to $7.1 billion. But it's not all doom and gloom for the microprocessor giant: According to CEO Paul Otellini, the PC market has bottomed out and will begin growing again, although much more slowly than before.

"We're seeing signs that a bottom in the PC segment has been reached," Mr. Otellini said. "The worst is now behind us."

Those are comforting words, coming from a bellweather of the tech industry. Intel notes that consumer PC sales are still relatively strong compared with corporate PC sales, and that recovery in the United States and China is stronger than in Europe, Japan, and emerging markets. The company forecasts flat revenue for the current quarter.

One blip on the Intel roadmap is that sales of its Atom processor, which powers the fast-growing netbook segment, actually fell 27 percent in the previous quarter. But Intel chalks that up to PC makers using up their excess chip inventories. The company expects Atom sales to jump again in the current quarter as PC makers run out of the chips. Netbooks will continue to be a "volume driver" going forward, Intel says