Back to the future at Intel reported this morning that Intel was piloting a new program whereby consumers could, for a fee ($50 in the example) log onto a website and dial up enhanced performance on selected microprocessors.  Enhanced performance that was always available on the chip, but that Intel had disabled via software at the factory.  The report suggests that more than a few folks might find the practice pretty cheap on Intel’s part, and less than customer-friendly.  And, well, it does impress me as strange in a vaguely off-putting way – kind of like Spirit Airlines charging people for putting luggage in the overhead bins.  That said, what Intel is doing seems an improvement on what it did in the old days when 386 and 486 chips ruled the digital world.  As I recall, back then Intel sold 386SX and 486SX chips that were exactly the same as 386DX and 486DX chips except that the SX chips went through an extra manufacturing step – the physical disabling of the math co-processor function.  (I am not a techie, so forgive me if my wording is less than technically correct.)  It would seem, in that regard, that Intel is taking at least a small step forward, at least in so far as the current program doesn’t require physically crippling the chip.  What do you think?  Good business model or marketing gaffe?


About Paul A. Jones

Serial venture capital backed entrepreneur, angel investor and venture capital investor; Co-chair of the VentureBest team at Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP.
This entry was posted in Entrepreneurship, Venture Captal and Angel Investing. Bookmark the permalink.

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