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SHOOT-OUT: AMD beats out Intel for site, not for business

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This might be the closest Advanced Micro Devices ever comes to beating Intel Corp., its rival computer chip giant.

Both chip makers recently introduced their new multimedia processors with MMX technology, so for this month's Shoot-out, we asked 70 people to compare the two company's Web sites, looking at their new products, the Intel Pentium Processor with MMX and the AMD-K6 MMX.

AMD WINS 36-34

Our panelists then answered three questions: Which site did you prefer? Which product would you buy? Did the site seem designed more for business or consumer users?

By a very narrow 36-34 margin, consumers preferred AMD's Web site, but most said they would buy a computer with Intel's multimedia processing chip.

Most respondents said the information contained in the site they selected was the easier one to access and understand. The consensus among both groups was that AMD's information was more comprehensive and Intel's more concise.

As for the other aspects of the sites' content, nearly all the respondents felt their site was easier to navigate. People who selected Intel's site felt that the one-page products-summary page was easier to digest than AMD's several-page descriptions.

People who selected AMD's site found the articles, press releases and technical pages well laid out and easy to get through.

Many respondents mentioned Intel's graphics. Intel fans thought the graphics were fun, while AMD fans thought them to be hype-driven fluff. None of the respondents mentioned the graphics on AMD's site.

INTEL WINS IN PURCHASING

In a testament to Intel's offline marketing prowess, respondents said, by a 39-31 margin, that they would buy a computer for home use with the Intel chip over one with the AMD-K6.

Of the 39 who said they'd buy an Intel-equipped computer, 28 panelists voted for Intel's Web site and 11 chose AMD's. Most cited Intel's brand name and reputation as the reason for their choice.

Of the 31 panelists who chose an AMD-equipped computer, six said they preferred Intel's Web site. Some of these people chose AMD, they said, because they find Intel's dominance of the chip market off-putting.

In judging the sites' usefulness for home and business users, 37 panelists felt the sites were geared toward both; 20 felt the sites had more home-user applications; and 13 said the sites worked better for business buyers.

BOTH SITES PROMOTE SALES

The bottom line for these sites is whether they promote sales, and both seemed to succeed at this. Nearly all the respondents were satisfied that the amount of information contained on the site they selected enabled them to make an informed choice.

Although we asked our panelists to base their decision solely on the sites themselves, the deciding factor for purchasing was Intel's reputation and brand awareness. But even though most of the respondents were unfamiliar with AMD before we asked them to visit the sites, Intel only beat AMD by a narrow margin.

One person summed it up best "I think in the long run, all consumers will benefit from AMD's growing market share, and I may feel more comfortable with them two years from now. But until then, the reliable and established record of Intel has my vote."

Lynda Frohman is director of online services for New York-based CLT Research Associates, which offers the WebScore service. She can be e-mailed at lynda@cltresearch.com

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