With compelling product names like Phenom and Spider you would think AMD is up to its old tricks again, sticking it to Intel with products that offer more bang for the buck and better performance. Unfortunately catchy names do not necessarily translate into a product that is equally attractive. As of late, AMD's products seem to be lacking in the performance department, with every new product introduction being somewhat of an anticlimax despite AMD's fruitless attempts to work their PR muscle and change the perspective of the press and prospective customers.
However, ever since the AMD and ATI merger working that PR muscle has taken on a whole new meaning. Despite the fact that ATI is Canadian and Canadians are usually awfully nice and considerate, ATI has had a history of trying to strong-arm the press into doing its bidding, or rather get the press to print articles describing their products' performance and features from ATI's own subjective viewpoint. I need only mention the launch of the ATI X1800 series
of graphics cards, which was a prime example of PR and marketing people fruitlessly trying to get any opposing views from reaching the general public. At that time we were excluded from receiving any samples of X1800 series products simply because we 'could not guarantee a positive review'.
Being allowed to review sample products under these or any other conditions that interfere with author's objectivity is something we would never agree to. First and foremost, we are here to provide you with clear and unbiased information on new and upcoming products that is stripped from all the marketing fluff and PR babble. So with the X1800 launch things got rather ugly, as we proceeded to source a sample externally and posted our results prior to the official launch. ATI then worked every conceivable angle to try and discredit us, rather than our results, which all failed when subsequent reviews of the X1800 series showed that the results we published were spot-on. It goes without saying that from that moment on we have been excommunicated from ever getting back into a working relationship with ATI.
From that experience you would think they learned their lesson, that forcing the press to do your bidding or be excluded from getting review samples is only going to come back to bite you in the behind. Well, with the Phenom and Spider launches AMD pulled the very same tricks out of their hat again. Only allowing journalists access to review samples under AMD-controlled conditions
at a remote location for a set amount of time or inviting people to a beautiful remote location and sweetening them up with an all-expenses-paid stay at a luxury hotel
are all tools of the PR and marketing trade, but will frankly only appeal the junior editor on his 2nd day at work, as any seasoned journalist will see this for what it is: an obvious attempt to sweet-talk a product that is not living up to expectations by bathing the journalist in luxury and hoping for favorable coverage.
From someone who has been touting objectivism as well as clear and concise communication to its customers and has been pointing fingers at Intel for shady business practices AMD is clearly making all the wrong choices here. By comparison, when Intel has a badly-performing product do you think they use some of their considerable market budget to sweeten up the coverage? Well no, I was never asked by Intel to 'go easy' on their new product, frankly their approach was always to gauge media's impression at their IDF events and if that was not a favorable one Intel would go back to the drawing board and try to come up with something better. So there is a lesson for AMD in all this, and that is actually one that they failed to grasp on numerous previous occasions; do not mistake the press, or your prospective consumers, for being gullible, provide clear and concise information about your products and communicate that information directly. This sounds quite simple, but from recent events it is clear AMD still has trouble learning this lesson.