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PowerPC is turning the computer chip branding battle into a two-horse race.

True, Intel Corp. has the inside edge, with 74% of the world's $9 billion PC microprocessor market last year, according to market researcher Dataquest. And true, PowerPC just made its debut in Apple Computer's new Power Macintosh line in March and still must prove whether it can be a sales success.

But PowerPC already is a brand success, well-positioned to computer users as an alternative to Intel's flagship, Pentium.

"There's an interest among ... [computer users] looking for alternatives," says Phil Pompa, director of marketing in the RISC microprocessor division at Motorola, which is taking the lead in advertising and marketing PowerPC.

PowerPC was developed jointly by IBM Corp., Apple Computer and Motorola as a united front against Intel.

IBM, struggling to regain a position as an industry trendsetter, has been using PowerPC chips in workstations since last fall and, over time, plans to install them across its computer line.

For Motorola, a distant second in PC chips with 8% of the market, it's a long-term bet.

Motorola began promoting the PowerPC brand to computer users and technology marketers-through advertising from BBDO Worldwide, San Francisco, and a PR effort from Cunningham Communication, Cambridge, Mass.-more than a year ago, before Pow- erPC machines were available on the market.

Mr. Pompa is pushing PowerPC's power points, including price/performance, the clout of its backers and the chip's broad potential uses. And cloutwise, PowerPC is off to a good start.

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