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The next advertising skirmish in the computer chip war starts March 14 with Apple Computer's unveiling of Macintosh computers based on the new PowerPC. In addition to Apple's campaign for "A Macintosh for people who never thought they could have a Mac," Motorola will fire the first salvo of its $10 million-plus campaign for the PowerPC microprocessor itself.

IBM will break its own congratulatory ad March 14, with a bigger chip campaign no sooner than April.

On the other side, Intel Corp. today launches a pre-emptive strike, announcing faster versions of its top-of-the-line Pentium microprocessor. That rollout comes amid Intel's $15 million campaign, running through June, to push Pentium with a new 30-second TV spot, a print campaign that broke Feb. 28 in The Wall Street Journal and ads in computer trades, via Dahlin Smith White, Salt Lake City.

Apple's campaign, initially all print, targets personal computer purchasers who have considered Macs in the past but opted in stead for desktops with Intel chips, said Michael Markman, director of advertising.

Last year, Intel won 74% of the microprocessor market, and so far the only PC supporter of the PowerPC outside of its three sponsors is Japan's Canon.

Microprocessors, as Intel has driven home the message with its "Intel Inside" campaign, are the "brains" inside personal computers.

IBM Corp., Apple and Motorola are coordinating PowerPC ad and publicity plans, with joint ads being discussed. Both Apple and Motorola use BBDO Worldwide offices, Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively. BTB/GEG, Raleigh, N.C., and New York, handles creative for IBM chips.

"We are in final production stages of a PowerPC campaign," said an IBM spokesman, adding that media buying will include selected trade publications. IBM's targets are PC and software marketers and PC users.

The ads will position PowerPC as the chip of the future that runs better, faster and cheaper than the current standard.

Apple's effort breaks in the , then expands to computer trade publications, general business press and trade publications. TV won't begin until after the rollout.

Motorola will let Apple take the lead next week, opting for a congratulatory "coinciding" ad on Apple's introduction, said Bill Van Tine, VP-director, marketing services at Motorola Semiconductor Products. But Motorola, which spent $5 million to $6 million in 1993 on PowerPC print and TV ads, will break a print ad in the Journal with TV spots to come later.

Apple's Mr. Markman was quick to grab the underdog role. "We think it's Intel's game to lose," he said. "It's looking as though they're getting a little nervous. They hear the footsteps in the corridor behind them."

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