POWERPC CHIPS AWAY AT INTEL LEAD IN AA READER POLL

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Novice PowerPC edged out kingpin Intel in Advertising Age's fax poll about the computer chip marketing wars. But Intel can still claim a partial victory.

PowerPC, developed by Apple Computer, IBM Corp. and Motorola, finished just ahead of Intel in the informal reader poll (AA, March 14). The new chip garnered a 7-5 edge over Intel among readers who provided full disclosure of what computer they now use.

PowerPC made its personal computer debut this month in Apple's new Power Macintosh. Intel Corp. markets the industry-standard chips used in PCs marketed by IBM and hundreds of other PC makers.

The poll showed a very close correlation between what readers use and which chip they think will prevail.

Virtually all Mac users, accounting for half the votes, and readers who use both a Mac and an Intel-based PC picked PowerPC. Given the popularity of Macintosh in the advertising business, the strong support wasn't surprising. And it says little about the broader business world, where Intel dominates.

Intel users all bet on Intel. And that's the good news for the chip giant, which last year had a 74% share of the world microprocessor market. Intel expects to maintain its share, and even Apple at best expects to convert only a small percentage of Intel owners to Power Macs.

There was strong consensus among Intel and PowerPC backers on one issue: The war will be won with technology, not marketing.

The fact that readers of a marketing publication put technology at the head underscores an increasing sophistication in the PC market. Informed buyers know what they're talking about and can't be won over by slick marketing if the product is not there.

Two readers who picked Intel said the company simply is so far ahead it's unstoppable.

But two Mac users said PowerPC will move ahead because it will make the "friend[ly]" and more affordable Mac attractive to a larger market. "It does more, it costs less," said a marketing executive, echoing recent Apple ads from BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles. "Everyone loves the Mac. It was just too expensive before."

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