Monday, July 23, 2007

Intel Loses its Will to Viiv

July 23, 2007,  9:48 am

Intel Loses its Will to Viiv

There were two things wrong with Intel’s Viiv brand: First, it was almost impossible to figure out what it meant. And second, what it did mean wasn’t worth much and was hardly related to chips.

Recognizing this after a year and half, Intel has decided to stop advertising the brand and relegate it to tiny stickers attached to some computers, Cnet reports.

Viiv was an attempt to create a premium brand for home computers optimized for home entertainment, especially video playback. The problem with this concept was the Viiv’s features were actually in software that was supposed to be installed on the computer; therewasn’t really anything different about the chips.

Of course, Microsoft, has been promoting its home entertainment software, with modest success, as Windows Media Center edition, and, more recently, the more expensive versions of Windows Vista. So it wasn’t at all clear that the Viiv software—which people didn’t really understand anyway—got people anything that they couldn’t get elsewhere.

Intel liked to compare Viiv with its highly successful Centrino brand for portable computers. But Centrino was different. It actually meant something related to Intel. These were chips in the laptop that used less power and had built in wireless network capabilities. As a brand it had a little adventure to it. It sounded like a subatomic particle from Italy.

Now Intel is putting all of its effort behind its main desktop chip brand, Core. A second generation will be called Core 2.

Core doesn’t do much for me. It sounds too much like something that is boring but good for you, as in Core Curriculum.

But Intel has a plan to spice this up. Starting early next year, according to Cnet, some computers will have stickers that boast of this chip: “Core 2 with Viiv.” We’ll see if anyone can figure that out.


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