Experience Crusoe vs. Intel Inside
For a moment imagine you run a line
of small stores which are planning to expand. The biggest competitor
in your market is Walmart. The question then arises, "How do you compete against
The answer you might think, is to undercut
Walmarts' prices, offer a better level of service, a wider range of products or
any other of a number of savvy ideas. Those answers are of course, totally wrong.
The real answer to "how do you compete with Walmart?" is much more simple. The
answer is, you don't.
That is essentially the situation
Transmeta faces. How to compete with the great Chipzilla - Intel? The
situation is almost comic if you consider that Transmeta's Santa Clara headquarters are
pretty much right across the street from Intel. The rivalry must be a heated one,
but what is Transmeta going to do?
The are very adeptly, not going to compete with Intel on its'
Instead, Transmeta say they are going to chip away at the
very foundations of Intel's business model. Their secret ally in the battle
for future notebook consumers is Moore's Law. Moore's Law states that
every 18 months, processing power doubles while cost holds constant. After almost 20
years of advancing processor developments there's precious little room left to
maneuver without some very fundamental (read: costly) changes to the
underlying technology of Intel's silicon processor. It's right about here where
Transmeta's next ally kicks in, and that would be heat.
Current Intel Pentium 4 processors produce upwards of 50 to 60
watts of heat energy per square centimeter. That is exceptionally hot as anyone
following current heatsink evolution can attest to. Mix Moore's Law and heat
into the equation and you see a situation where, under the current architectures,
MHz-based marketing can only go so much further.
What better way to compete for the hearts and minds of future
notebook consumers than to abandon MegaHertz, or even GigaHertz, as the
measuring stick for a processors' usefulness. That's right, abandon MHz
If you can't fathom not judging your processor by its' MHz
don't worry, you're not alone - but consider this first. De Beers, the worlds
largest Diamond monopoly, created their marketing strategy "A diamond is forever"
about 50 years ago. Believe it or not, before they started their
campaign, most wedding rings were plain gold bands, and only about 1-2% of
brides thought a diamond was "a girls best friend." De Beers
marketing strategy changed all that forever, and that is exactly what Transmeta
hope to do with theirs.
Unworking Billions of dollars worth of Intel marketing will
not be an easy task, but Transmeta say they are determined to show the
world that MHz doesn't mean squat, it's productivity that matters!
How do you relate
such an intangible in a quantitative manner? Well, even we're not
totally sure, but according to Transmeta they will be emphasizing
the benefits to end users using Crusoe-based notebooks. The end
result? Promote the "Crusoe Experience."
It's not as crazy as it might seem if you consider Sony for a
moment. The "It's a Sony" type of marketing strategy is exactly what Transmeta
appear to be shooting for. This kind of brand-based marketing plan emphasizes
the end user experience entirely. This begs the question of whether or not
Transmeta will position Crusoe-based computers as "consumer
electronics" rather than "computers."
The difference is slight, but has serious ramifications to the
way we shop for, compare, and buy computers. Transforming the status of the
computer from that of a 'highend electronic object' which can be tweaked,
upgraded, and coerced into performing better into a generic piece of
consumer electronics may seem hard to accept, but the paradigm shift could be
very powerful, not to mention profitable.
Chances are it will be some time before consumers shop for
notebook computers with the same abandonment as they do for portable CD-players,
but when they do, don't be surprised if you see a little sticker saying