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Intel Only Inside

PC OEMs increasingly focus on style and design and eschew perks offered by the Santa Clara corporation.

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SAN JOSE CA (Cox News Bureau) -- For more than a decade swirly blue 'Intel Inside' stickers have appeared on just about every computer with an Intel processor, becoming as ubiquitous as Dole or Chiquita stickers on bananas. But no more. The Apple success story has made its mark.

Although Intel say their 'Intel Inside' campaign is as strong as ever, the facts don't back them up. An increasing number of OEMs choose processors from AMD and also eschew ugly stickers on their products, no matter what company they come from.

PC makers are increasingly focusing on style and colour and ignoring processor specifics. Recent print ads from Dell, HP, and Lenovo lack mention of 'Intel Inside' - even for products that still contain Intel chips.

'What we're trying to communicate to customers isn't necessarily which processor they choose - it's about choosing the right processor for the function they're trying to perform', said Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman.

AMD's Henri Richard sees the trend as a watershed. 'OEMs are finally being re-empowered to talk about their own brand.'

Even though AMD also have a sticker campaign they're applauding the refusal of OEMs to participate in such programs and in recent months have stepped up their efforts to convince other OEMs to follow suit.

'I have constant conversations with them saying 'why don't you try to sell your systems without any logos on them'. My instinct is that it won't make any difference', says Richard.

Sixteen Whiskers

Intel launched their 'Intel Inside' programme in 1991 - before the birth of the World Wide Web. They wanted to make their brand more important to everyday consumers. But a lot has changed since then - most importantly Apple have reentered the market in a strong way.

300 OEMS signed up for the programme in 1991 in exchange for millions in marketing funds. Today some 3000 participate in the programme. They're likely to hang on if they can what with the nonexistent profit margins in the industry.

But Apple are currently putting them all in the poorhouse - and Apple refuse to sully their products with the sticker.

When the question was put blankly to him last week by Cox reporter Bob Keefe Steve Jobs explained the obvious.

'Don't get me wrong. We love working with Intel', the Apple CEO said at the 7 August event. 'It's just that everybody knows we're using Intel processors, so I think putting a lot of stickers on the box is just redundant. We'd rather tell them about the product that's inside the box.'

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'But he could have asked the great Steve-0 any question he wanted - and he chose that?' wrote the entire Apple fanboy universe all week long. All the while important issues such as system security were totally overlooked - and not only because when it comes to serious issues Apple fanboys know they're out of their depth. Especially the unforgivably egregious Great Balls of Pudding kept almost a dozen references to this story on his unedited front page.

Had they only waited. But they never wait. Like belligerent preteens who haven't yet reached puberty they rush ahead - and make complete and utterly ludicrous fools of themselves.

It's good OEMs are following Apple's lead in manufacturing but expect also the fanboy undercurrents to be quiet for a while as they try to recover from their latest gaffe. C/1995 O1 has been spotted pulling farther away again.

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