Intel reported what it called the strongest second-to-third-quarter growth in 30 years of business. However, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue and profits dropped.

For the quarter, the company posted revenue of $9.4 billion, down from $10.22 billion a year ago, but up from $8 billion in the second quarter, and ahead of the Street at $9.04 billion.

 the world's biggest semiconductor company, reported a third-quarter profit of $1.9 billion, or 33 cents a share, compared with a profit of $2 billion, or 35 cents a share for the year-earlier period.

Analysts had expected Intel would report earnings of 28 cents a share, on revenue of $9 billion, according to a consensus survey by FactSet Research.

Intel chief executive Paul Otellini spoke positively about the quarter's results. Intel's strong third-quarter results underscore that computing is essential to people's lives, proving the importance of technology innovation in leading an economic recovery, Otellini said in a statement.

This momentum in the current economic climate, plus our product leadership, gives us confidence about our business prospects going forward. As we look ahead, Intel's game-changing 32-nm process technology will usher in another wave of innovation from new, powerful Intel Xeon server platforms to high-performance Intel Core processors to low-power Intel Atom processors.

For the current quarter, Intel said it expects revenue of $10.1 billion, plus or minus $400 million.

Analysts had expected the company to report sales of $9.5 billion, according to FactSet Research data.