The Big Disconnect

I’m a pretty diversified person. I love my technology, but I also follow the business world pretty closely and who doesn’t know it that technology is a big business? I do a lot of reading in both areas and I’ve noticed one big problem. There is a huge disconnect between the technology enthusiasts and the business analysts.

Let’s get one thing clear first. Those companies making all these cool gadgets and useful computers are in it to make money above all else. No one starts up a business to lose money. P I’ll take the hotly contested Intel versus AMD issue as an example.

Picture this. I’m on one of the several tech message boards that I frequent. One guy is preaching that AMD’s going to take over the world with fast as hell chips. Ok, this guy’s got a point about the fast as hell chips. AMD’s definitely got a technical advantage over Intel at this point. But to say they’re going to crush Intel? Give me a break. Technical superiority is a small drop in the bucket of influence. Think about the political, economics, social factors as well.

Then you’ve got these business analysts who have tech-reviewer aspirations or something. It’s 2006 and Intel is coming off a pretty bad financial quarter (relative, everything’s relative) and has warned for the coming quarter as well. Analysts start predicting the doom of the mighty blue machine. What’s the basis? Intel’s architecture is having thermal issues and way behind AMD’s. Hello and welcome to 2004 Mr. Analyst! Sure the Prescott (the Pentium4’s foray into the 90nm world) had severe issues, but to only realize that at this point is if anything, after the fact. Add onto that the fact that Intel’s next generation architecture is looking more promising than (just about) anything they’ve had in the past and you get a severely misinformed business analyst. And that’s the key. They are business analysts. Keep it that way. Sure you can trick the investors who know little or nothing about the technical side of the issue, but when people like me read stuff like that, it becomes a laughing matter.

The techies aren’t going to get off the hook that easily either. I recently read this article about Intel’s financial state. That is the writing of a technical enthusiast. I don’t go to him for stock recommendations. So while he makes a good point that Intel is far from succumbing to the pressure of AMD, what he didn’t mention is that stocks and businesses are based on potential. Just because the company is still making boatloads of money, if the trend is downwards, that’s never good.

On another occasion, a fellow member at a tech message board and I were having an argument about the near future of the processor landscape between Intel and AMD. As it stands, it would appear as though Intel’s next generation architecture will be quite successful, technically speaking of course. It was then stated that AMD could release several speed grade of processors to compete. The actual technical ability to do something is totally separate from economics and marketing, which, in the end, is what decides success or failure. That is also the basis of the AMD/Intel lawsuit. AMD’s got the technical upper hand, but to compete with a large corporation like Intel, who has the marketing capability to sell diet pills to a starving man, you need more than “my CPU is faster than theirs, why isn’t it selling more?”

There is a huge gap between the business world and the technical world. A company will sell just about anything, no matter how crappy it is and the developers tend to have little business sense. If somehow these two sides were brought a little closer, good things could come about. Perhaps that’s why I’m so interested in both.

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