Intel Corp. (INTC) Tuesday reported its highest-ever quarterly revenue, but profit fell as the world's largest microchip maker saw its brand premium erode in the face of growing competition.

Earnings in the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 25 fell to $2.1 billion, or 33 cents a share, compared to a year-earlier profit of $2.2 billion, or 33 cents a share. Sales rose to $9.6 billion from a previous record of $8.74 billion.

Analysts on average had been expecting fourth-quarter earnings of 31 cents a share on sales of $9.42 billion.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, the first major U.S. technology company to report earnings, targeted sales of $8.8 billion to $9.4 billion in the current period, a decline that was at the higher end of the average analyst estimate of $8.94 billion, as measured by Reuters Estimates.

The bellwether report, coming a day after a negative financial forecast from rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) boosted Intel shares in after-hours trading. The shares rose to $23.10 from a close of $22.54 on Nasdaq, a rise of about 2.5 percent.

Intel, whose microprocessors run 80 percent of the world's personal computers, also boosted its annual budget for spending on factories and chip-making equipment to about $4.9 billion to $5.3 billion from a $3.8 billion level in 2004.