With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

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We and others have been less than awed by the Bloomfields.  Others have sprung to Intel’s defense, but so far, they haven’t been too impressive.  

An example can be found here.  Between the article and the author’s often amazing responses to generally derisive comments, the message imparted is, “How can you not call Nehalem great?  So what if it costs more and doesn’t give you much for the extra cost and it doesn’t overclock all too much and it’s something I personally wouldn’t buy?  What’s the problem?”  

With friends like these, Intel needs no enemies.   

Might I gently suggest to the author that he has unwittingly explained what the problems are?  

Might I gently suggest that those who have emitted negative or even ambivalent waves about this product are not suggesting that Nehalems be wiped from the face of the earth?  Might I suggest instead that they are well aware that their audience does not give a rat’s ass about what is good for the “industry,” but what is best for themselves and their increasingly endangered wallets in hardening times?  Might I suggest that creating a luxury platform now and making everyone else wait almost a year would stick in some craws even during good times and seems particularly tone-deaf these days?  Might I suggest that what is good for Intel isn’t necessarily good for the rest of us? 

You see, this isn’t history repeating itself, with Intel introducing the latest and greatest at high prices.  This is something different.  Intel has created a super premium segment, with its own separate socket and certain features that will be incompatible with future, cheaper Nehalems.  This will serve to keep prices for this segment higher than they otherwise would go in previous product life cycles.  People sense, if they don’t quite understand why, that this is not another cycle of the same old, but more like a permanent price increase.   And when insult gets added to injury when the product doesn’t give most gamers and enthusiasts something to be enthusiastic about, just why should they buy this?  Duty to the “industry?”

One argument in this often confused article seems to be that everyone ought to be saying that Bloomfields are really great so rich people will buy them and pay the R&D for the rest of us.  There’s more than a few problems with that, but the biggest one is that according to Intel and even the author, we’re part of the rich crowd (aka gamers and enthusiasts) who are supposed to do our duty and buy these things.   

It gets worse.

I mean, really, trying to sell a product these days because it does great doing things the buyer doesn’t do these days is like trying to sell refrigerators with great ice-makers not to Eskimos, but to Eskimos afraid of losing their jobs.  And really, suggesting that Intel will pull the Penryns, leaving people no choice in the matter, is really silly.  Of course people have choices, plenty of choices.  They can buy cheaper Penryns today.  They can buy cheaper Denebs next January or February.  They can buy cheaper Lynnfields next fall.  (You notice all these options have something in common?)  Or they can modestly upgrade what they have or even (gasp) buy nothing, and see what both the economy and the Westmeres look like a year from now. 

Those who will get real benefits from Bloomfields justifying their additional cost will buy them, unless they can’t.    Those who don’t mostly won’t, and again, that word “can’t” creeps into the picture.  These Bloomfields are probably not going to sell too well, but that will be overwhelmingly due to the economy, and just a little due to its lack of price/performance for certain groups like this one.  So it goes.  Not like a relative Bloomfield failure is going to kill Intel or do anything except maybe wound its stock price a little more for a while.  So it goes.        


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