Intel Corp., the world's biggest chip maker, said on Thursday its fourth quarter net income plunged 90 percent.

The company cited the economic downturn which weakened demand for computers.

Sales in the quarter dropped 23 percent to $8.2 billion, according to a release statement. Net income declined to $234 million or 4 cents a share, far behind the $2.27 billion or 38 cents a share in the same period a year earlier.

Intel said a $1 billion reduction in the carrying value of its investments in Clearwire Corp. was included in the most recent quarter's results.

The economy and the industry are in the process of resetting to a new baseline from which growth will resume, said Intel's CEO Paul S. Otellini, adding that the company knows how to move forward successfully.

Mr. Otellini also said the chipmaker would continue to invest in manufacturing technology aiming leave its rivals behind. Earlier this month, the company warned its investors of a sharp decline in sales. Today's results signaled worsening conditions for PC sector industries.