In search of industry leadership

I was discussing industry leadership and marketing ecosystems with a fellow Intel alumnus a few days ago.

Once upon a time, 1995 – 2000 to be exact, the Wintel alliance was a web of open industry standards and open market ecosystems: PCI local bus, AC-97 audio, USB 1.0/2.0, DVD players/recorders, AVI video, Internet music streaming, etc. Intel and Microsoft product launches were industry showcase events. For instance, for the 1999 “Blue Door” Pentium III microprocessor intoduction, Intel ran consumer ads prior to the February introduction event(see above). The Intel introduction event rivaled any Apple event, taking over the San Jose convention center and showcasing over 50 new PC designs, a dozen new peripheral devices and 246 new software titles from over 300 vendors you could buy. The new PCs, devices and software showcased new system (and Intel microprocessor) features and uses, creating media buzz and giving PC purchasers bragging rights over their friends and co-workers, which snowballed to drive further consumer hype and additional sales of new PCs.

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock & Western Digital Thunderbolt My Book

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock & Western Digital Thunderbolt My Book

I was contrasting then and now with my new MacBook Pro. The new MacBook Pro has 2 Thunderbolt ports, a technology developed by Intel, that screamed to be utilized. Apple has met most of my angst by stocking a variety of Thunderbolt peripherals in my local Apple store such as the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock. However, the local inventory of external Thunderbolt hard disk drives maxed out at 4 TB (go to the online Apple Store for larger sizes). No problem I thought. I’ll go off to the mega tech store, Fry’s Electronics. I went, a mission of double disappointment. The tone of my trip was set by first experiencing a new star ding in my windshield. Then after arriving at Fry’s, imagine my surprise and additional disappointment when of the 60+ external hard disk drive models on Fry’s shelves, only one had a Thunderbolt connector. The Fry’s clerk said the demand was low since PCs with Thunderbolt connectors are still rare. Rare? 2 years after being introduced? Gone are the days of Intel industry leadership and market ecosystems I guess.

While Thunderbolt is rare outside the Apple store (Apple leadership and market ecosystem), I recommend going Thunderbolt if you can. I internet shop splurged on a 6 TB Western Digital Thunderbolt My Book Duo hard disk drive. While I’m not going to do any precise testing or benchmarking, it’s impressive when a 1.5 GB movie file can be transferred to/from the external Thunderbolt hard disk drive in 20 – 30 seconds.

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