The always-provocative Jim Forbes on Intel’s rebranding announcement going down at CES this week.
"I wish someone would take Intel’s Paul Otellini aside at CES next week and tell him that unless you’re Apple, almost no one buys a computer based on branding."
Hmm. Dunno if I buy into that theory. "Dude, you’re getting a Dell?" Cow boxes from Gateway? Charlie Chaplin? If PCs are toasters — as Forbes once postulated to me when he asked the question: "Ever wonder why there is no trade rag called `ToasterWeek?’", then why do people buy $300 toasters from Williams-Sonoma?
There is always a bit of a bling-bling contest in business class on any airline. Do you want to be Mr. Mediocrity with a clunky notebook that looks like something out of the former East German republic or do you want the thinnest, most platinum, most decked out little cutie on the fold-down tray? It’s all about minimalism, about sleek, about the unobtainable. The commodity in computing is the apps and OS — that’s why Apple is differentiated — but the differential is the quality of the box, the horsepower, and the status of ownership. Having lugged a woefully underpowered, but delightfully designed Fujitsu P2040 Lifebook around Europe, I can attest to the envy that little baby induced in my fellow passengers.
Forbes is right that Intel has to do something about impermeable brand designators like the "Centrino" – who knows what it means?