PowerPC represents a new family of microprocessors developed by Apple, IBM and Motorola to challenge Intel.
For its part, Intel last week announced a Pentium model billed as the world's fastest PC chip, aimed at upstaging the PowerPC announcement. Next year, Intelwill introduce a new generation of chips even as Pentium becomes its mass market product.
The marketing stakes are high. Late last month, Intel began its biggest-ever ad campaign, a $15 million effort from Dahlin Smith White, Salt Lake City, to get Pentium into businesses and homes.
Intel's battle plan includes massive advertising, public relations efforts to win over media and analysts, and the invasion of stores by foot soldiers who look after Intel displays. The marketer plans to spend more than $150 million this year pushing Pentium in Intel ads, in PC marketers' ads subsidized with Intel co-op money and in retail merchandising schemes.
Support for PowerPC will be coordinated by Motorola, Apple and IBM, and joint ads are under discussion.
For now, Motorola today breaks a $10 million-plus campaign for PowerPC, via BBDO Worldwide, San Francisco. Apple planned a print campaign that began today, from BBDO's Los Angeles office. IBM was to run a congratulatory ad today, with a bigger effort coming no sooner than April, handled by BTB/GEG, Raleigh, N.C.
Here are the strengths of each chip:
Speed-Chip for chip, PowerPC is cheaper and faster than a Pentium.
Underdog appeal-PowerPC offers a strong alternative to Intel's near-monopoly. Like most monopolists, Intel is not loved. Its biggest customers are either losing money or turning profits of 12 cents on the dollar. Intel made 25% margins last year.
Big names-the chip's blue-chip sponsors carry the market credibility and market weight needed to counter Intel.
Software compatibility-computer users care about software that lets them write, calculate and play games. Software written for early Intel chips also runs on the latest, fastest chip, protecting users' investments. And thousands of software programs have been written for Intel chips.
Follow the money-many software developers prefer to write for a large market, and Intel-based machines are the biggest market. To get the most from PowerPC, software must be specifically written to take advantage of its advanced features.
Follow the leader-Intel has 74% of the world microprocessor market in large measure because, as once was said of IBM: Nobody ever got fired for buying Intel.