Intel's Brand New Brand Name Confusion

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) will try to confuse us less in the future. Problem is, I think they'll end up confusing us more instead. That's not a good idea.

"The fact of the matter is, we have a complex structure with too many platform brands, product names, and product brands, and we've made things confusing for consumers and IT buyers in the process," says Intel spokesman Bill Calder in a blog post that reads like a press release. "All that is about to change."

A change is surely needed. Consumers or IT managers who wants to buy an Intel chip today can choose among Celerons, Pentiums, Core 2, and Core i7 processors. Some are single-core, some dual, and some have four processing cores. And then they come in different processor speeds, with small or large cache memory, etc cetera.

If the last paragraph made your eyes glaze over, you are not alone. It takes a hardcore geek to make sense of any of it.

OK, so Intel wants to simplify. But how? "We are focusing our strategy around a primary 'hero' client brand which is Intel(r) Core(tm)," Calder says (trademark signs and all). So there will be a single primary brand, which is Intel Core. It'll come in flavors like i3, i5, and i7, which are "modifiers," not brands. Future chips based on the same architecture "will carry the Intel Core brand, but will be available as either Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 depending upon the feature set and capability."

Is the Intel Core i5 appropriate for servers, desktops, or laptops? What's the difference between i5 and i7? Still bewildering, and the Celeron, Pentium, and Atom brands aren't going away, either.

Can somebody tell me how this is less confusing than the old conventions? I'm a geek, and my head is spinning.

To be fair, Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD  ) isn't doing much better. You need a decoder ring to figure out the difference between an Athlon 64 X2 and a Phenom II X4.

I fear that this new confusion will turn buyers off rather than pulling them in. Someone from Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) should give Intel's marketing people a stern talking to, or maybe Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) can lend a hand and tell them what consumers actually understand. Intel's shenanigans may end up hurting their sales.

Further Foolishness:

Dell, Best Buy, and Intel are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Best Buy is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Intel and Best Buy. It also wrote puts on Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in AMD, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. He longs for a simpler time when Pentiums were for men, Celerons for boys, and Itaniums for large corporations. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 19, 2009, at 2:35 PM, TheTechCrunch wrote:

    I'm a geek, and my head is spinning.

    You kidding?

    If you were a geek you wouldn't be confused so easily.

    Go to Intel's website or a tech review site like Anandtech or Tom's Hardware. Don't whine that the names are too confusing. This is clearly a case of intellectual laziness.

    Are you also confused about the difference between Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad?

    Its not that difficult.

    i3

    i5

    i7

    Got it? No?

    Intel is not confusing us. Intel may be confusing YOU but thats why you should call up Dell and let them tell you what to buy. But please don't claim to be a "geek" when you can't figure out a simple sequential naming system.

  • Report this Comment On June 19, 2009, at 3:51 PM, Youstolemyname wrote:

    I totally agree with Tech...

    Intel is awesome, AMD sux.

    Motley Fool is starting to look the the nightly news with NBC: Not Biased Commentary.

    Everything about intel is a put down according to all internet 'news' sites.

    What about Apple's 'NEW' iPhone 3GS. What the hell is that?

    Not new. Not revolutionary. Nothing more than marketing BS, as far as I'm concerned.

    Same old dated phone with a new moniker.

    There is no unbiased news or reviews on the internet. Period.

  • Report this Comment On June 20, 2009, at 2:48 PM, crca99 wrote:

    Are these comments examples of economy does down and crabbiness goes up?

    I think all tech companies have become too complicated with their product lists. It's tough to be a consumer, so much advance research required. I often just walk out of stores when I see way too many choices on every little gizmo. It's tougher being an investor. It's not possible for interested people to be tech investors, you have to be an expert. Otherwise, it's just a vast gamble because it's too hard to learn which nuance leads to competitive advantage.

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