PM Forum - Q3/2003: Part 1

by Andrew Ku on September 16, 2003 11:36 PM EST

After the conception of our CEO Forum way back at the discussion table, we weren’t finished with what we had envisioned. Our first CEO Forum gave users and institutions that were geographically away from the Taiwan manufacturing hub the ability to understand where the market is residing and is going to reside in the near future. Granted, some of what the CEOs stated back then still has yet to be played out, but it still lent some interesting thoughts that many people did not expect.

Our original plans were to take the approach of the CEO Forum from a strategic business standpoint, so as to leave room for another project down the line. After all, CEOs are best suited to answer these types of [business] questions. The standpoint we left room was the current and future technical details relating to a company's products. However, many times CEOs are not the best people to contact for this type of stuff. (Though, they are often tech-capable.) Instead, many of the day to day duties, which involve decisions such as “which product line to pursue,” are the responsibilities for the VP of Product Marketing or someone in a similar position. However from company to company, official companies titles and responsibilities vary and get blurred. This is more a function from the way a company is structured, if anything else. And in a very simple explanation, Product Marketing is a mixture of engineering, marketing, and public relations. Product decisions, in the broadest sense, can come down to who can provide the best bid price, a product that meets specifications, and technical troubleshooting (something companies even need in the development and life of the product). Because of this, we decided to go with Product Managers as those to include in our next forum, which is to take things from a product/technical standpoint. Product Managers are engaged with consumers and are well equated with the technical side, because they deal with engineers (they often are engineers) and are involved with the product decision making process. For the purposes and reasons we cited in our first CEO Forum, we are turning to Product Managers in the HQ of each motherboard manufacturer to get a global look of all the industry trends.

The format is still the same as the CEO Forum, but we are just involving PMs (product managers) for a more technical look into industry trends. We should note that much of this took place in a month’s timeframe, about from the beginning of August. Some products were announced in this timeframe, and so some of the responses we are publishing appropriately reflect this. You will notice that Darryl Chan is "Marketing Devision Director" of Albatron, and the only one to be dubbed with "marketing" in this line up. We should make clear that he is also the head of all product managers at Albatron, but there is no official title for this position. Therefore, his official title has been listed for our purposes.

Participant - Official Title, Company.

Hunter Lee – Product Manager, ABIT Computer
Darryl Chan – Marketing Division Director, Albatron Technology Co., LTD.
Gerald Wang – Sr. Director, AOpen Inc.
Richard Liu – Product Manager, Asustek Computer Inc.
Steven Kuo – Product Manager, Chaintech Computer
Fanny Chen – Product Manager, DFI
Eric Kuo – Deputy Manager, Elitegroup Computer Systems
Calvin Yen – Product Manager, Epox Computer Co., LTD.
Chris Wang – Director of Product Marketing Division, Giga-Byte Technology
Scott Yang – Senior Product Manager, Micro-Star International Co., LTD.
Jonathan Yi – V.P. of Product Marketing, Shuttle Inc.
Tom Yang – Section Manager of Product Marketing Division, SOYO Computer Inc.
John Nguyen – Product Manager, Tyan Computer

Note: From this first run of the mill, so to speak, we have been able to test the water and have gotten some good feedback. For one, the length of the article has been consistently raised as an issue, because executives, investors, marketing personnel have found the many pages plus the amount of quotes to cumbersome and often times redundant. It is understandable that time is money for them, as they are indeed busy people. Though, for us to leave out quotes that may be repetitive in tone/thought would go against our original intent, because the range and number of quotes help emphasis the majority or the minority’s thought on the subject. So if possible, we will try and split our forum articles into two sections. This way we maintain the style and berth of input that was originally intended and keep the length of the read much lower and easier than what we first introduced. The second issue has been the topic of drawing conclusions. We have tended not to voice where the market should turn, but instead provide as much information as possible and let readers decide for themselves. Basically, letting the cards fall where they may. This is something that we will continue, all the while juggling the need for us to lend our own thoughts and insights. It is a fine line that we will continue to keep watch for, and decide on for a case by case basis. With all that taken care of, on to AnandTech’s first ever PM Forum...

The future of RDRAM...
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  • Anonymous User - Monday, September 22, 2003 - link

    I'm not sure I understand the obsession with top-of-the-line 3D graphics performance on entry level workstations. Are you telling me that the majority of workstations are sold to game developers or something? What about the significantly large IC design market? What about embedded software development? Granted, Sun Workstations have traditionally ruled this space but x86 is gaining a serious foothold when considering both W2k/XP and Linux. I could not possibly care less about my workstation's fps benchmark in Half Life 2 or whatever the latest 'ultimate' gaming graphics engine benchmark happens to be. I want a machine that crunches numbers like you've never seen, renders the screen perfectly (no buggy drivers! grrr) and doesn't require me to sell my car to pay for it. I have a hard time seeing any engineering workstation other than those used for gaming development or other highly graphics specific niche markets needing state of the art 3D performance. Please enlighten me if I'm hopelessly misinformed.

    High-End Desktops, though, are a completely different story. That's gamer land, and I don't think we'll ever see integration work well there because of that segment's demand for flexibility, scalability, and top-notch 3D graphics.

    IMHO, it doesn't make much sense to lump High-End Desktops and Workstations into the same pile. They have very different target markets with very different requirements. From the processor standpoint, perhaps, but not from an overall system feature and performance perspective.
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 18, 2003 - link

    What a dumb comment, pie chart colors?
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - link

    The lack of consistency in assignment of colours in the pie charts is confusing.

    In chart #1 No is Red.
    In chart #2 No is Green, and yes is Red.

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