“Intel Inside.” It’s been called one of the best campaigns to ever come out of Silicon Valley’s Mad Men, and it turned a relatively unknown maker of microprocessors into a $100 billion dollar company, and a household name. All this, thanks to a blue sticker slapped on every Intel PC or laptop.
Every Intel PC or laptop except Apple’s, that is. Even when Cupertino transitioned to Intel processors in 2006, Apple refused to put ‘Intel Inside’ stickers on their new Macs and MacBooks. And with characteristic bluntness, Steve Jobs had no problem explaining why when asked about it back in August 2007, right after the first aluminum iMac was introduced.
Asked why Apple doesn’t put ‘Intel Inside’ stickers on computers, Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller’s first response is just to laugh at the question.
Jobs himself then follows it up with a quip: “What can I say? We like our own stickers better.”
Don’t get me wrong. We love working with Intel. We’re very proud to ship Intel products in Macs. I mean, they are screamers. And combined with our operating system, we’ve really tuned them well together, so we’re really proud of that. It’s just that everyone knows we’re using Intel processors, and so I think putting a lot of stickers on the box is just redundant. We’d rather tell them about the product inside the box, and they know it’s got an Intel processor.
The answer is a little bit disingenuous: the reason Apple didn’t want Intel Inside stickers on their machines is because it elevates a partner’s brand while diluting their own. Apple specializes in selling integrated computers: your Mac isn’t just a chip, it’s an amalgam of software and hardware combined into something that “just works” by Apple. Why would Apple slap an advertisement for a CPU on the front of the box and cheapen that accomplishment, giving the credit to someone else? They wouldn’t.