Viiv has failed to Thrive?

march 12, 2007

Ask anyone what Intel's Viiv is and you'll probably get a puzzled look, and if you're lucky a "huh?". The San Jose Mercury News is running an article in today's Tech Monday on Intel's Viiv. Viiv (pronounced like "live", as in "live concert") is probably one of the worst marketing strategies ever. If you don't know what Viiv is, it is a platform from Intel that lets PC makers create machines for "the enjoyment of digital entertainment in the home, Intel® Viiv™ technology allows you to access, share, and manage your digital media." Kind of nebulous, huh? Actually, I think is just plain bad marketing. In the article, Intel complains that the comparisons between their Centrino platform and the Viiv platform are not good. I think differently. The Centrino is a platform, just like Viiv. The only difference is that the Centrino platform has a very focused intent: Wireless. Why buy a notebook built on the Centrino platform? For wireless connectivity. Plain, simple, easy to understand, and most importantly: Useful. Why buy the Viiv platform? According to Intel's own description: To enjoy your digital entertainment. Huh? Can't I already enjoy my digital entertainment with my current PC?  Sure, I can.  But, really Viiv also encompasses digital content also (my read on that is that Viiv is a hardware DRM platform in which content providers can lock their content to).  I don't even think Intel knows what Viiv really is -- look at their description of Viiv.  Do I really need a new PC to watch digital content?  No. Do I need a PC to sit in my livingroom?  Not really.  I have my DVR.  I have my DVD player.  Why do I need yet-another-digital-box?  Especially if that box is going to be a full-fledge PC running Windows, which brings a whole new can of worms with it -- malware, crashes, maintenance, and the dreaded sound of loud cooling fans. If Intel cannot get something out in a sentence for marketing, I don't think it'll work.  And they definitely cannot get something as ambiguous as Viiv out in one sentence.  Centrino, yes, it could was marketed on a single word definition:  Wireless.  Viiv?  Not a chance. Now, to nitpick... "Viiv" is unpronounceable and that was a bad choice of name for the platform.  The logo for Viiv is so 1980s!  Who made that antiquated thing anyways?  And lastly, if you really wanted to promote your platform, you should promote it.  I don't see any ads for Viiv.  Nothing.  Of course it is not going to thrive.  Though, even if it were promoted, I doubt it would go anywhere.  How is Intel going to convince the masses that they need yet-another-computer in their house?  And that the computer is really just for consuming digital content that they may already be consuming on their current PC.