When conceiving a product, all features must be directly tied to end-user value – this is obvious. Teaminged with collaborative products along the product lifecycle to enable a complete end-user solution? Not so obvious. What’s more, most products will require features outside of the easily-defined technical circle of utility – financial, operational, development and support utility are as important.
The K6 products gained single-digit market share on price, with manufacturing challenges, chipset support, and competitive onslaught of Market Development Funds limiting its penetration. This is an excellent example of a product seeing limited success in spite of its product features being more than adequate to compete. It is not sufficient to aggregate features into a package, put a brand on it, and assume it will do well, independent of its ecosystem-peer products and other factors in the value-chain.
After the merger with NexGen, AMD had a product with which to compete against the Pentium. For motherboard, video and chipset support, AMD turned to the PC industry’s hardware manufacturers or IHVs. For software compatibility, in the days when Windows was something to circumvent for performance and flexibility, AMD had to enlist the support of ISV, the Independent Software Vendors.
To gain market share, AMD had to prove that its products were compatible with Intel’s. To help negotiate price points with Acer, IBM, HP and other buyers of AMD’s processors, processor performance against the Intel models had to be demonstrated. One of the popular games at the time was Quake, and AMD made every effort to support the Quake brand with optimizations to GLQuake, motherboards, drivers, all to highlight the comparable floating point performance of the CPU relative to the Pentium. Even a bus tour, the Quake 3 Bus, was organized in support of the franchise.
A fledgling league of players formed the PGL and were pushing into new directions in gaming, later to become leaders in social media, and perhaps one of AMD’s greatest contribution.