More on Larrabee

I wrote earlier on Larrabee being delayed. A coworker pointed out this article from Jon Peddie Research, who know (and usually charge) more than I do. It makes a plausible case that cancelling this first version of Larrabee was the correct move by Intel, and that the experience gained is not wasted. JPR argues that the high-performance computing market is also high-margin, so needs fewer sales to be profitable. There are other gains from the project to date – anyway, a worthwhile read. I’ll be interested to see what’s next for Larrabee.

The magic of marketing and price differentials is fascinating to me. Books like The Underground Economist have some entertaining tales of how prices are set. Here’s a marketing story I heard (elsewhere), and it might even be true: HP had two versions of the series 800 workstation in the late 80’s/early 90’s, the only difference being, literally, one bit on a ROM chip. If the bit was set, then HP-UX could not be run on the workstation. Amazingly, the price for this version of the workstation was higher, even though it was seemingly less capable. This version was marketed to hospital administration, which at the time didn’t use HP-UX (so didn’t care); the workstations that could run HP-UX were sold to engineers. HP could honestly say there was a difference between the two workstations, say that one was tailored to hospital admin and the other to engineers, and so justify the price differential. If anyone wants to confirm or deny, great!

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