Will Platforms Give Intel a Lift?
Opinion: Intel is looking to new platforms to give it a step up on its competition. Will they at the same time bolster the sagging PC hardware business?Intel says it wants to be a platform company. The statement sounds odd to me because Ive always thought that Intel was a platform company. However, we live in a brand-conscious world, and Intel has been very successful giving catchy names to the microprocessor sets it sells to its hardware OEMs and, eventually, to you and me. Faced with tougher competition from AMD and the increasing commoditization of its core microprocessors, Intel wants to up the ante. By creating new "platforms," Intel hopes to deliver more features than its competitors and to brand them in such a way as to create Intel-specific demand for new PCs and upgrades. Intels Professional Business Platform will be available with baked-in management software, along with speedier networking and faster graphics. Click here to read more.
Just as "Centrino" defines a certain feature set thats available from multiple hardware vendors, future Intel platform names will describe widely available new desktops and other systems. The feature sets will be different, but Intel wants PC buyers to know certain features are part of new Intel-based computers, regardless of manufacturer.
- Intel is in a take-no-prisoners battle with the peripheral vendors it hasnt already crushed. Intel is adding everything it can to the basic PC platform. Intel may not be on the bleeding edge of wireless technology, for example, but when the large market arrives for a new technology, Intel will include it in the suite of products offered to its hardware manufacturer customers. These will be promoted to customers in much the same way Centrino has been.
- Intel can do this because hardware has become such a commodity. Customers dont want groundbreaking technology as much as they want predicable functionality and ease of use.
- I expect most of the new platforms will be a collection of communications, security and systems management features. These will tend to drive sales of higher-end hardware than customers might purchase otherwise.
- Intel is scared. AMD is being seen by many as a real competitor and is becoming more real every day. Intel is responding to the competition by trying to expand the definition of what it means to be a provider of PC chip sets beyond AMDs capabilities.