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Processor branding is confusing, analyst says

May 22, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Recent processor branding efforts by major semiconductor vendors such as Intel and AMD have failed, according to a new report from In-Stat. The study showed, among other things, that product brands are often identified with the wrong manufacturer, In-Stat said.

Specifically, the study found that:

  • Product brands are associated with the wrong manufacturer 17 to 50 percent of the time
  • Graphics processor brands GeForce and Radeon had greater than 40 percent
    recognition rates.
  • Similarities in product brand names like Fusion and CoreFusion are confusing to customers

In-Stat's study includes results from early technology adopters regarding their perceptions of semiconductor brands. It also contains analysis of branding strategies and recommendations for vendors on how to strengthen their brands.

In-Stat senior analyst Ian Lao explained to that the 17 to 50 percent figure for misidentification of manufacturers is a “breakout of individual averages by manufacturer,” rather than a “weighted average.” That is, one manufacturer was misidentified 17 percent of the time, while another was misidentified as much as 50 percent of the time. The research firm found this to be a more meaningful way to state its results than with a “weighted” average, said Lao.

Branding confusion is something that product vendors generally want to avoid, but one might not think so from examining new processor names, especially from such vendors as Intel and AMD.

According to Lao, “Recent moves away from the Pentium brand, coupled with attacks on the Celeron brand by AMD, have weakened Intel's once-near dominance in this area. In-Stat has long contended that evolving purchasing patterns resulting from changing usage patterns of computing solutions will likely weaken processor brands. The new alphanumeric numbering schemes implemented by several processor vendors appear to have accelerated this trend.”

A quick look at AMD's processor portfolio reveals a potpourri of processor designations, including both brands — such as “Athlon,” “Sempron,” and “Turion” — and alphanumeric identities, like the “M690.” Similarly, Intel's processor names are equally confusing; like AMD, Intel intermixes brands — such as “Core 2 Duo” — with alphanumerics like the “E7500.” These designations eventually get strung together into lengthy product designations, such as “Mobile Intel 915GM Express Chipset” or “AMD Geode LX 900.” There are also mysterious branded entities like “Intel XScale Technology,” which is Intel's implementation of ARM Ltd.'s ARM processor core architecture; and Via's “C7,” which could be either a processor brand or a specific chip's alphanumeric model number.

In-Stat's new study, “Processor Branding, Leaving It's 'Mark' On Customer Minds,” is available now, priced at $995. Further details may be found here.

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