Intel Corp said that it had launched an investigation into reports that parts of its quarterly earnings statement were altered by an unknown hacker.

The company released a statement Thursday stating that a graphic on its report was the object of unauthorized access before it was published.

"Once we became aware of these reports, we made the decision to issue our earnings announcement a brief time before the originally scheduled release time," Intel said.

A report from the Financial Times cited Intel's chief financial officer, George Davis, as having told employees that a hacker had stolen financially sensitive information from its corporate website.

The executive reportedly said that the leaked information ahead of the earnings statement's publication was a result of illicit action. He said that the company had no intention of disclosing the information prematurely for whatever reason.

For its fourth quarter, sales from Intel PC microprocessor business increase to $10.9 billion - beating analysts' estimates of $9.57 billion for the period. The company's data center sales of $6.1 billion also topped analysts' estimates of $5.48 billion.

Intel's forecast for its first-quarter revenue and profit was well above Wall Street expectations. The company attributed its optimistic forecast to the high demand for PCs and laptops as the entire world continues to work, study, and play from home.

In a shift in how the company plans to do business, Intel's incoming chief executive Pat Gelsinger said that while most of its products will still be made in-house, he intends to have a "dual-track future" for Intel in the coming years.

Gelsinger said that Intel will lean more heavily on third-party manufacturers to better compete with rivals.

For the past 50 years, Intel has insisted on making all of its products - including design, development, and fabrication - in-house. However, Gelsinger wants to break away from that tenet.

"There is [an] enormous opportunity ahead for Intel. But to be able to seize these opportunities, we have to deliver the best products and stay ahead of our customers' needs. We need to become more agile in a very competitive market," Gelsinger said.

Intel named the former VMware executive as its incoming chief executive officer last week. Gelsinger will officially be taking the reins of the company starting on Feb. 15.