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'Intel Inside' sent to the place where brands go to die

Time to 'Leap Ahead'

It's time to retire your "Intel Inside" jokes and start coming up with some "Leap Ahead" humor. Intel is changing its branding campaign after 14 years.

Intel leaked word of the new brand to the Wall Street Journal, disclosing that it will adopt the "Leap Ahead" theme at next week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Along with changing the familiar "Intel Inside" line, Intel will nix the use of the dropped "e" long used in the depiction of the company's name. (You can see the new logos here.) One thing that won't change with the re-branding exercise is the fat loads of marketing cash Intel hands out to partners who willingly display its logos.

It remains unclear if Apple plans to join the "friends of Intel" club when it begins selling Intel-powered computers. It's hard to imagine Apple tolerating a little blue sticker on its clean designs, but it was also hard to imagine Apple using Intel chips.

As previously reported, Intel will replace the Pentium M brand with the "Core" brand. Single core chips will be sold as Core Solo products, while dual-core chips will be sold as Core Duo.

(We're guessing that Intel's first generation of dual-core server chips will be sold as Core Kludgo, but must admit we haven't been privy to the branding discussions.)

The WSJ notes that new SVP Eric Kim - recruited from Samsung - has lead the re-branding effort and worked hard to convince ex-CEOs Craig Barrett and Andy Grove that the move is a good idea.

While "Leap Ahead" doesn't do much for us, we'd agree that Intel could use a fresh coat of paint.

Over the past two years, the chip giant has suffered from an embarrassing spate of product cancellations and delays. In addition, it allowed rival AMD to carve out a large chunk of the x86 server processor market, while Intel struggled to push competitive chips to market.

BusinessWeek - a publication determined to keep the badger in Web 2.0 - has an embarrassingly dramatic but informative account of the underlying motivations behind the brand switch here

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