If it was previously a stretch to consider Intel (INTC) a consumer electronics company -- rather than a supplier to that industry with a slapped-on 'Intel Inside' sticker -- that's no longer true. Intel has launched an ambitous digital home entertainment brand -- Viiv (rhymes with 'five') -- and used its sheer market clout to bring 40 music, movie, television, gaming and photo-editing companies onboard the project.
Viiv is a platform, built upon the Intel Yonah or Pentium processor, to standardize networked home entertainment hardware and software in a manner that eases consumer confusion about the compatibility of digital entertainment products. Forbes notes that in fact all the big players -- hardware, software, and networking -- are scrambling right now for positioning in this massive emerging market:
Game machine makers like Microsoft and Sony and PC vendors like Dell and Hewlett-Packard all see an opportunity to expand their markets and boost their growth by capturing this still-developing market. Cisco Systems, too, entered the fray two weeks ago with its acquisition of set-top box maker Scientific Atlanta.
Even Intel's primary competitor in PC microprocessors, Advanced Micro Devices, sees a chance here to expand on its recent momentum. AMD earlier this month announced its own consumer electronics brand. Although the specifics of the brand haven't been announced, AMD's approach is expected to be decidedly different from Intel's.
The race is on, and Intel is digging deep in its pockets to come out on top. Expect some details on everyone's strategies at CES next month -- we'll provide updates. The Inquirer adds a note on marketing:
Intel will use the Viiv logo in a similar way to Centrino... with software makers, content providers, and hardware makers all expected to license the mark and associate it in peoples' minds with convergence. All Viiv branded components will work together. There will be marketing and financial sweeteners too, although how much money Intel is pouring into that pot isn't yet known.
One thing is clear -- the world's top chipmaker is not content to just churn out silicon for the next decade. Get used to seeing INTC on our Consumer Electronics Stock Blog, and not only on our Chip Stock Blog.
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