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Can **insert name here** beat Google? Is Intel's new chip faster than AMD's? Will SP2 bring the known world to a halt?

By Andrew Pollack on 11/14/2004 at 09:51 AM EST

It must be a slow news month in the I.T. industry now that Microsoft's strategy at the desktop has been set back so far, Intel has finally dropped off the escalating gigahertz numbers game, and service pack 2 didn't bring the world to halt. In the last weeks I've been seeing a proliferation of headlines in various trade magazines and on-line stories about this or that firm and their strategy to "beat Google" at the search game. Pay no attention. Its just more desire to stir the soup and sell subscriptions.

All these headlines a good for selling subscriptions but are pretty much meaningless at really understanding the I.T. marketplace.

Intel has finally said that they'll stop pushing for more cycles per microsecond and focus on 'dual core' and doing more things at once. While this may not make as good a headline, it makes for a better user experience at the desktop. When opening a slow USB device or doing heavy duty encryption on your company VPN doesn't slow down your DVD or music in the background, you see the payoff. I predict we'll see a new number emerge so that we can compare the number of "thread instructions" per "some time interval" because then we have a simple numbers race -- who's ahead that can be reported. Until then, for most of us its more important to buy a good multithreading chip then one with more gigahertz. Personally, I'm sold on Intel's "HT" Hyperthreading technology for the time being. Its not perfect, but it helps a lot.

As for "beating Google" -- well, everyone has Google envy right now. Their stock jump is the cause. The problem is, nobody is going to "beat Google" because Google isn't resting. What made Google a market defining company is their thinking and approach more than their product. Those guys do not take anything for granted. They don't do things a certain way because that's how its been done before. They really think about each process they take on and take a really hard distant look at what it is about that process that they can do differently. Until another group of leaders emerge with the technical savvy, the imagination, and the business sense those guys bring to the table in one tight package their lead is safe. When it does happen, it will come from another small company with bright individuals. It will not come from a mega corporation with committee meetings and strategy teams.

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