What kind of world are we living in, when we as consumers snub goods that have been shown to offer the best value for money? A real one it would seem.
Granted, it's taking a long while for the washing powder companies to convince people to dump their trusted fabric conditioner and use an all-in-one brand instead, but this is the technology industry we're talking about, where sense is supposed to prevail over the cache of a brand name.
Haven't we learned that choice is paramount and it isn't only the big name organisations that can offer us quality products? We're speaking, of course, about AMD, the first company to beat Intel to market with a next generation chip and the first to beat Intel in independent performance benchmark tests.
The whole industry has been talking about the K6, which AMD launched a month before Intel's sixth generation Pentium II, which makes its debut this week.
The K6 is seen as the chip to teach Intel a lesson. AMD has even said it will guarantee to sell the product for 25% less than equivalent Intel chips. Vendors, who once remained loyal to Intel, are now starting to bite. Late last week Digital announced plans to use the K6. Hewlett-Packard and Compaq are rumoured to be following suit. But it's early days yet.
AMD has still to convince other serious players such as IBM before it really starts to hurt Intel.
AMD doesn't think that this is a problem. "It's just a matter of time," is the standard response from the team that makes it its business to function as the underdog. And there's the key: no one likes the underdog, because it's too risky.
As one Intel customer explained: "If you were going to buy a car from me and I said, 'look, we've got a Ford Escort at the usual price with all the standard trimmings and extras, or we've got the new Khia Protos which is 10% faster and 10% cheaper', chances are you'll stick with the Escort because you know what you're getting." Point taken. But shouldn't we know by now that unless we take the underdogs seriously, innovative and exciting organisations tend to lose their sparkle.
Apple is a case in point.
Once way ahead of the Wintel duo, Apple now finds itself in a bit of a crisis and is desperately re-hiring its old boys in an attempt to recover some of that ol' magic.
While it will take more than magic to convince the tier-one suppliers to go with AMD - performance, capacity, brand recognition and media exposure have important roles to play here - it will be a sad day if AMD's loses the chip battle because of the industry's obsession owith sticking to a brand leader.
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