Personal thoughts…

Tech, Hockey, and random thoughts…

Apple-Intel co-op branding?

BusinessWeek has published an interesting article exploring the question of whether or not Apple's upcoming Intel switch will launch a series of co-branding efforts and joint marketing campaigns between the two companies. On the one hand, it makes sense to expect a Centrino-style blitz of advertising. Not only are both companies in the midst of major platform and product transitions, but there's an obvious logic to combining Apple's brand strength and name recognition with Intel's marketing dollars. As the article points out, however, things aren't likely to be that simple.

Apple's strong customer loyalty and unique position in the computer industry make them an attractive advertising or co-branding partner, but it's hard to imagine Steve Jobs hitching his wagon up to the Intel marketing train. Historically, Jobs has been extremely protective of the Apple brand and careful to avoid anything he felt might dilute it. One of his first actions upon returning to the company was to kill off the last of Apple's clone initiatives for precisely this reason. Intel marketing dollars have undoubtedly helped Dell and HP sell computers, but the ubiquitous Intel Inside logo and accompanying jingle has also contributed to vendor brand dilution across the industry. People may still display a preference for one computer manufacturer over another, but you don't hear anyone talking about HP's new and innovative case design, or the elegance of Dell's CPU cooling system. The only "feature" of a mainstream system people tend to talk about is price, sometimes followed by the processor brand. There's nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but it's definitely not the way Apple does business.

It's possible, however, that Apple is about to shift its branding and advertising focus. Apple may not need marketing funds to appeal to loyal Apple consumers, but there's a lot of software that needs to be ported to, and optimized for, the x86 architecture. Lower system prices could also help Apple retain more users who might otherwise purchase from another vendor, and of course, Apple would like to see its share of the PC market improve. No matter what happens, it'll be fascinating to see how the partnership develops—can two companies with a long history of aggressive branding play nice together?

My guess is that not only will Apple not partake of the Intel Inside marketing, they will downplay the CPU in their marketing altogether. I'll bet the only place you see mention of the processor is on the tech specs page. Other than that, Apple will push their ease of use and design. The only way the processor will make it into Apple marketing is in the form of things the processor allows Apple to do that they didn't do before (smaller form factors for their laptops, etc).

I think this will clearly be the case because the processor is no longer a point of product differentiation. Apple makes money off of the Mac by convincing people there is something special about the Mac that makes paying a higher price worth it. If the Mac has exactly the same CPU as a Dell or HP, then Apple isn't going to focus on the processor, except to assure people that it's just as good as a Dell or HP. They will mostly focus on those things that make a Mac different and worth a higher price (though the price differential might be less now than in the past).

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December 20, 2005 Posted by | Apple, Intel | Leave a comment

Alexander Ovechkin Collecting autographs

Interesting bit from an article….
After the Capitals’ loss Friday, Alex Ovechkin sought out Pavel Datsyuk, a fellow Russian and former teammate on Moscow Dynamo. After the two spoke for a few minutes, Ovechkin returned to the Capitals’ locker room with Datsyuk’s hockey stick, which the Detroit star autographed and wrote “Good Luck” on the blade.
Ovechkin said he planned to add it to his collection of hockey memorabilia, which includes 2,000 hockey cards and about a half-dozen sticks from Russian players he admires. He already has autographed sticks from the New York Islanders’ Alexei Yashin, the Atlanta Thrashers’ Ilya Kovalchuk, the New Jersey Devils’ Viktor Kozlov and the Buffalo Sabres’ Maxim Afinogenov, among others.
Asked why he only has sticks from Russians, Ovechkin smiled and said: “I don’t know. I like how we play."

December 13, 2005 Posted by | Amusement, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Steen-Too much, too soon?

I really think the Leafs are putting too much pressure on Steen.
Now 3rd in ice time among our forwards, and quickly on his way to passing Lindros for 2nd. Playing on our first line, getting big PP minutes and PK minutes. Leading the Leafs in shots…

He’s basically on the ice doing everything offensively and defensively for us.
I love him… but he’s only 21, he’s not accustomed to playing 18min/game playing in all the pressure situations, and certainly not over a very long 82 game schedule.
I’m worried we’re going to burn him out late in the season, and we’re putting an awful lot of demands on him to be the focal point of them team in every zone.

We can see statistically he’d already slowing down a bit.

I know the popular consensus amongst fans is to thrust rookies into 1st line minutes immediately, and basically let them sink or swim… but we’re riding Steen awfully hard.
He doesn’t seem bothered by it in the least, and all past reports indicate he’s a great team player and his performance is stellar thus far, he’s probably out most consistent forward to date… so if anyone can handle the load it’d be him.
But I really think that even if it hurts us a bit in the short term, we’d be better off in future years and even by playoff time if we let up on Steen a bit right now.

Lindros has slumped a bit in recent games… maybe putting him up alongside Sundin in place of Steen might reawaken his offensively and in terms of his physical impact which was tremenous earlier this yr.
It’d allow us to drop Steen to the 2nd line, a bit less ice time but still in a solid role with capable linemates.

December 2, 2005 Posted by | Toronto Maple Leafs | Leave a comment

Fallout from Thornton deal

SOUTHCOASTTODAY.COM: Mick Colageo reports Bruins winger Sergei Samsonov is unhappy that Thornton was made the scapegoat for the club's struggles this season, leading to his trade to San Jose. "I don't think Joe should have been singled out. I don't think he's the one to blame," said Samsonov, who was neither cajoled into the statement, nor responding to a question. "There's 20 other guys in the locker room and we're all there to blame for it. Right now he's being made an example of, which I don't think is fair."

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports several Bruins veterans held a dressing room meeting yesterday with GM Mike O'Connell demanding an explanation for the Thornton deal, one that apparently got heated at times. Garrioch also reports O'Connell apparently had negotiations with five teams for Thornton but claims sources say the original deal was supposed to be Serge Samsonov for Stuart. Garrioch also reports that O'Connell's job, as well as that of the coaching staff, could be on the line if this deal doesn't turn the Bruins fortunes around.

TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reported last night it'll be interesting to see what effect the fallout from the Boston Bruins trading away Joe Thornton will have on the club. Thornton's friend and now-former linemate Glen Murray signed a four-year deal last summer with the B's to return to the Bruins and play alongside Thornton, leading McKenzie to speculate how this will effect his play. McKenzie also reports team morale is very low, and the casting aside of free agent Dave Scatchard along with Thornton could make free agents wary of signing with the Bruins next summer. He also noted that defenceman Brad Stuart, obtained from San Jose in the deal, is eligible for UFA status next summer. McKenzie cites unnamed players as saying if this move doesn't turn the Bruins around soon, the club could go into full salary dumping mode.

December 2, 2005 Posted by | NHL Trades | Leave a comment

Thornton’s reaction….

Thornton's reaction to the trade:

"They had flown in for the Ottawa game. I knew absolutely nothing. I was totally blindsided. Obviously (the Bruins) believed in their coach and GM and I'm next in line."

Of course he's shocked. The team has been built around you as the focal point for about 4yrs now. You were just resigned to a very lucative 3yr contract, with a no-trade clause coming intp play on the 2nd yr of the deal.
You were expected to be the focus and Captain of a team that was thought to contend for the cup this season….
You've played your entire career there.

I'm sure this almost… not quite but almost ranks up there with Marian Hossa and Brian Leetch's reactions when they were shockingly dealt to another team completely out of no where. NO ONE could have predicted Thornton would be dealt anywhere.

Here's Bob McKenzie's reaction.

One thing McKenzie stated on TSN/Sportsnet that I find very surprising. (I put complete faith in McKenzie, perhaps the only journalist in any field I can say that of)….McKenzie said that he talked to other GM's around the league NONE of which new that this was happening…There was no shopping around, it was BOS and SJ exclusivley…He also gave the inclination that there were other GM's out there willing to offer more for Joe.

This makes little sense to me, why would there be such a desperate desire to get rid of Thornton immediately that he wouldn't even talk with other GM's?

I'm not inclined to guess whether Boston would have gotten a comparable/better deal from another team …. but there certainly would have been tons of interest and plenty of offers to consider. If your making a trade as major as this it seems to stand to reason you'd want to take your time and contact absolutely everyone to ensure you get the best deal possible.

Then again, this is Mike O'Connell. He's made a career out of not giving a damn about what the fan base thinks. Boston has long been in the 2nd teir of teams behind Chicago who's primary goal about all else is financial gain. NOT having a successful team.
They way they perennially screwed over and shortchanged Ray Bourque one of the gratest defencemen of all time and always wholly devoted and loyal to the Bruins to a fault speaks volumes on that tendency.
Any other player less loyal then Bourque would have bolted as soon as he was open for UFA… Bourque stuck around for almost 20yrs always playing for less then fair market value. Even when Boston had no hope of contending.
About the only good thing Boston ever did by him was deal him to Colorado for one last harrah and stab at that long awaited Stanley Cup in 99-2000.
Few players deserved a cup as much as Bourque.

December 1, 2005 Posted by | NHL Trades | Leave a comment

Selke

Someone today commented that the race for the Selke is wide open given the struggles (relatively speaking) of some of the typical contenders….

I think that's a shame. Selke winners are often guys that had career years offensively as well as being great defensively. Selke is based more around reputation then how well a player is actually playing defensively.

By any statistical and visual merit Brindamour should be absolutely running away with the Selke…. but he's never even mentioned as he doesn't have that 'big name' credit other stereotypical contenders do.

He's doing everythig imaginable for them. Leading all forwards in ice time, and shifts per game. On the ice more then most top D-Man. Even strength, PP, PK, trailing late in the game, trying to hold a lead when the other team is pressing. Winning all the important faceoffs. Blocking shots etc etc.
Brind'Amour leads the NHL with 383 wins in just 22 games, more than 17 a game. If you watch a Hurricanes game closely, you'll often see coach Peter Laviolette sub the veteran centreman in to take a draw. Amazingly, he's taken 42.2 per cent of the team's faceoffs, more than six per cent better than the second-place player (Halpern, 36.1).

These are the kind of stats that should really come into play for the Frank J. Selke Trophy. He averages 24 minutes a game, 4:18 of which comes while shorthanded, and plays a shutdown role every night.
The way he's played this season it will be an absolute crime if he doesn't win the Selke, no forward has provided anything comparable to his play for Carolina.

Rob Brind'Amour for Selke is the most obvious of all the NHL's awards at this early point in the season IMO.

December 1, 2005 Posted by | NHL Awards | Leave a comment