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Technology (Apple) Businesses Apple Technology

Better Business Bureau Targets Apple's G5 Ads 595

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the half-truths-in-advertising dept.
deathazre writes "The Council of Better Business Bureaus has suggested Apple Computer withdraw its claims of the world's fastest, and first 64-bit, PC after a complaint by Dell. However, even having one of their ads banned in the U.K. didn't stop them here in the States."
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Better Business Bureau Targets Apple's G5 Ads

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  • by jkabbe (631234) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:45AM (#8689243)
    I have never understood.....when companies lie (or make questionable claims) about "fastest" or "first" people get all up-in-arms. But when companies lie about quality or other things people don't care.

    Case in point: I didn't see Apple (or anyone else) complaining that Dell was lying in ads where they implied that the night call center workers were actually in the US.

    And Dell directly implies in their ads that if you're running Unix there are all sorts of negative things that will happen to you that are pretty much not true.

    Whatever. The BBB is just another piece of the marketing machine I guess.
  • by newdamage (753043) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:47AM (#8689248) Homepage Journal
    I was wondering how Apple gets reprimanded for these claims, yet MS goes unheeded with all of its comparative TCO mumbo jumbo, and the fact that "exagerated advertising" is, well, normal. My only guess is that Apple was just too straightforward with its claims (gee, what a novel concept!), and didn't throw in enough technical buzzwords and marketing FUD to confuse everybody.

    Apple's current stance: Our G5's are damn fast, faster than Wintel stuff, and we'll stand by that claim.
    Average Consumer: Really? Wow.
    Dell: Crap.

    Apple's new stance: Our G5's have multi-threaded double buffered optimized 256 bit parallel pipelined 64 bit x-streaming architecture!
    Average consumer:
    Dell: much better.
  • I have an easy test. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BoomerSooner (308737) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:48AM (#8689257) Homepage Journal
    Take 1100 dell'ss at 64 bits and make them into a "super computer" (quotes because the super part is arguable)

    Take 1100 apple g5's and make them into a super computer.

    Which one will be in the top 5?

    Apple, the most powerful, lowest priced 64bit based PC available. That is true.
  • by whomeyup (635503) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:51AM (#8689275)
    Hmmmmm....I recall Windows NT Workstation and Windows NT Server. Ive never seen Windows NT PC.
  • by thefinite (563510) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:54AM (#8689294)
    As the Apple Turns [appleturns.com] has an insightful take on the whole thing. I had never heard of the Dell cluster in Buffalo. Bummer for Buffalo.
  • Re:Old news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:56AM (#8689310)
    Made out?

    Hmm. [marketwatch.com]

    While Apple's iPod sales remain strong -- the company sold 730,000 iPods in its last quarter and had pre-release orders for 100,000 iPod mini music players -- Bachman said the company's G5 sales could turn out to be disappointing for the second quarter in a row.

    For its fiscal first quarter, which ended Dec. 27, Apple shipped 206,000 G5 computers, short of many analysts' estimates. Bachman has estimated that Apple would ship 195,000 G5s in its current quarter.


    Sounds like it didn't work to me. They hardly 'made out' on that one.
  • by JustinXB (756624) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:59AM (#8689320)
    Take 1024 Xboxes and make them into a supercomputer. The result? 81920 gigaflops, twice that of the number 1 supercomputer. Cost? $204800. A bargin.

    That is if you believe nVidia's claim that the Xbox runs at 80 gigaflops.

  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:59AM (#8689321) Homepage Journal
    It may be fastest, and may have been the cheapest 64 bit desktop PC system on introduction. A problem with making the claim now is that that eMachines has been selling Athlon 64 systems at about $1000 for three months now.

    Apple has long shelved the ad campaign though.
  • by josh glaser (748297) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:06PM (#8689355)
    ...is have a "Apple challenge" with the G5 and a P4. Show people both computers, have them use them, and see which one is faster, has the nicer interface, looks cooler, etc. (It would also be a good way for Apple to prove that there really is software on the Mac.) See what people would say is faster - I know what I'd say. Then they could say G5 is the fastest or whatever.

    I'd be the first to admit that Apple was really lagging behind with the G4, but the G5 changed all that. Especcially since, come summer, I'll be able to buy a Dual 3 GHz (crosses fingers).

    Actually, I'm waiting for a G5 Powerbook. No suprise there, but holy crap that'd be fast. (And hot...and big...but fast.) ;-)
  • Fastest FOR WHAT? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StandardCell (589682) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:06PM (#8689356)
    If you want very specialized fast floating point performance for certain scientific applications, Itanium is where it's at.

    If you want business performance, a multi-processor Opteron trumps them all.

    If you want super fast video and audio encoding, a dual Xeon with hyperthreading will probably kill all of these.

    If you want the fastest mobile processor with good battery life, Centrino is the way to go.

    If you want the fastest computing cluster, you'd probably have to go with UVA's Mac cluster.

    All of the above are probably temporarily in those positions and subject to considerable debate. I hate these "fastest computer ever" statements. Computing is far too dynamic and varied to put all-encompassing labels on. No one platform is ideally suited for all tasks. You make compromises and go from there.
  • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:09PM (#8689371)
    I know that innumerable Rich Tennant comics and other geek 'leet humor poke fun at those people who think having a faster processor speeds up the download process, but (I know this is heretical) but it does, doesn't it?

    It doesn't increase the transmission speed since the limits there are often not processor related (maybe with soft-modems), but it does help with faster decryption / decoding / and decompression significantly. So if you include the time of this post-processing in the complete circuit of time taken to get a true copy of the original file then a faster processor does help shorten the download cycle.

    I realize that people who think the faster chip helps download speeds are incorrectly thinking it helps transmission speed, but people are rather viciously ridiculed for a rather simple mistake that isn't really a mistake. A better chip will abbreviate the time it takes to get or send your files even if it doesn't effect the transmission time.
  • by cioxx (456323) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:12PM (#8689383) Homepage
    Yeah. I especially like the Intel Centrino laptop commercials where someone is in the middle of the fucking ocean or on the airport runway surfing the internet.

    "Intel Centrino Lets You Unwire Your Life. Now you can enjoy a truly mobile lifestyle!"

    Unless Intel advocates wardriving, I don't see how it's truly mobile. This is far more deceptive to me than G5 ads, which were just designed to let people know that Apple isn't behind times with its processor speed anymore, albeit the wording was amplified to drive the point home.
  • by TimTheFoolMan (656432) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:21PM (#8689428) Homepage Journal
    At least based on this article in the NY Times [nytimes.com] (with all the usual privacy business that people complain about), it sounds like Dell and Intel may have some explaining to do about HOW they get this incredible performance numbers...

    Tim

  • Re:Dell?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dubiousmike (558126) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:22PM (#8689436) Homepage Journal
    While G5's are 64 bit, OSx isn't a 64 bit OS.

    But they will be in 9 months or a year.

    At that point G5s will scream, but until then they wont.

    I think VA Tech is banking on a big performance increase then.
  • Marketing is complex (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Llywelyn (531070) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:24PM (#8689442) Homepage

    Trying to see whether an ad campaign has succeeded or failed based on the number of sales versus what was predicted in a given quarter is kind of like trying to infer causal effects for a graph showing correlation between two independently measured variables with no other data--a big mistake.

    Whether an ad succeeds or fails often cannot be measured based on sales in a fluctuating economy with a variable product interest. The critical question is would they have sold 206k G5 computers if they had not run the ad campaign? There is also the corollary question of would they could have sold more with a different ad campaign?

    The first of these questions is nontrivial to answer and requires good, well researched data on why your customers are buying the product. Apple may have that data--you most certainly do not. The latter is almost impossible to infer even with good data on people's purchasing.

  • by Llywelyn (531070) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:34PM (#8689510) Homepage

    Well, speed is a simple, measureable and quantifiable concept.

    Speed in computers is not "simple" and it is not easily quantifiable. Case in point, take the Earth Simulator--rated as the fastest computer in the world right now on the Top500. Any computer scientists could write a program where it would perform painfully slowly compared to a computer with a processor from years ago simply because of how it works and the way it is designed: lots of processors that are good at one and only one thing--vector processing.

    "Speed" with computer begs the fundamental question of "speed at what? I don't think intel's chips offer an FMADD instruction, for instance, which is part of the reason why the G5 is so impressive--it can field two of them per clock cycle. At integer based DSP the G5 is not going to be nearly as impressive--this isn't exactly a first past the post kind of thing

  • by mac os ken (732050) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:47PM (#8689604) Homepage Journal
    Just for fun I installed Panther on a beige G3 300 box and it still boots faster than my faster 700 Mhz XP system. So... What about the GUI is slow?
  • by molafson (716807) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:54PM (#8689654)
    There actually is wireless Internet access on Mt. Everest. [mirabilis.ca]
  • by stealth.c (724419) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:54PM (#8689656)
    I believe a stronger truth-in-advertising law is in order in the US. There are a disturbing number of adverts that tell you shockingly little about the product they're advertising. There is far too much emphasis on image.

    We should disallow companies from advertising based on knowingly bogus research (read: research sponsored by THAT company), and force them to stick to the facts. There should be penalties for lying to people in order to sell a product. I also think political campaigns should be held most strictly to this policy.

    Too many advertisements simply say "use X, and the Y in your life will become that much better!" or "X is the BEST Z product--EVER!" with absolutely no evidence. It's ridiculous.

    And yet Americans don't have a problem with it. They're either too used to being lied to or just don't care. It has to stop. If the G5 isn't the first/fastest 64 bit CPU, well, Apple shouldn't be allowed to say that it is. Isn't there a law against lying to people for money? Don't they call that a SCAM?
  • Just one question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mindstrm (20013) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:56PM (#8689672)
    At the time Apple started selling the G5, was anyone selling a 64 bit PC, and if so, was it faster than the G5?

    There were plenty of 64 bit computers available.. but not really on the PC market...
  • Re:Dell?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dubiousmike (558126) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:58PM (#8689691) Homepage Journal
    but until one can run Photoshop, Final Cut and After Effects as a 64 bit application, 64 bit is moot to most of those who feel Apple is speaking to them.

    While Apple is happy that their server market is doing great, a big part of what they do has been the workstation and the entry level/academic Imac crowds. Apple is showing these ads to convert mind share with these people and that is fine. I am not saying that everyone else ISN'T doing the same kind of marketing grey messages, just that I always liked to put Apple above the dirty tricks sort of campaign.

    but the fact remains that the tactic works
  • Re:Dell?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @01:37PM (#8689920)
    At the time the ads were published Apple's G5 WAS the fastest PC on the planet. True, Dell has some models NOW that are faster...but they're not "PCs" that's the key difference. At the time of the G5 release even the PC sites backed up that claim. Sure it was close, and didn't win every benchmark against DUAL XEONS or OPTERONS, but again the G5 is sold as a desktop PC...not as a server or workstation class PC.

    Apple had the claim to fame for a few months fair and square. They don't run those commercials anymore anyway...and again why does Dell care...they don't sell AMD chips either!!!

  • Workstation == PC (Score:1, Interesting)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @01:48PM (#8689988) Homepage Journal
    Wow, I think it's hilarious how all these apple zealots, after hearing this add campaign have suddenly started acting like there's a huge difference between a "PC" and a "Workstation". The terms are interchangeable, really, and most of the time the designation a machine goes by means nothing more then what target market the maker was going after. I do know lots of people who ran Windows NT 4 on their PCs (and lots of people who ran 2000/2003 server on their desktops).

    Hell, an alpha muta is a lot smaller in physical size then a G5 tower.

    And let's not forget Windows CE, and the 64 bit PDAs running on MIPS chips out there. Those are certanly "personal computers."
  • by ITR81 (727140) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @01:55PM (#8690027)
    He's just mad his Dell DJ is getting smoked by the iPod and iPod mini so he attacks an Apple Ad thats no longer in circulation.

    He's also mad becuase HP went with Apple and not them and now HP will have it's own branded iPod.

  • by linuxpng (314861) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @02:03PM (#8690074)
    First, the process is NOT tedious, at least in North Carolina. You fill out a form online, and mail it in. Also, our BBB shows how many complaints the company has had total, how many resolved, and how many unresolved. That tends to show people what type of business is being run. For example, our local Compusa has over 1000 complaints. 'Bout 1/2 of those are actually resolved.

    I know this because I had to file a complaint against a local company. They were pretty upset to have any mark on the BBB site.
  • by Graff (532189) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @02:34PM (#8690232)
    our BBB shows how many complaints the company has had total, how many resolved, and how many unresolved. That tends to show people what type of business is being run.

    I've filed several Better Business Bureau complaints, including one against a company in the North Carolina (against Ubi Soft, Inc). I've never seen the BBB change the complaint statistics as a result of my complaints. Of the three times I've gone through the complaint process I have never received any satisfaction from the companies involved and the BBB has not added my complaint to the total complaints against the companies.

    The BBB is a paper tiger that does little more than to allow people to feel like they are complaining to someone who can make a difference. The fact is that the BBB is not for the consumer, it is an organization which is paid by companies in order for them to get a feel-good BBB logo to plaster around and to serve as a buffer between themselves and the public.

    If you have a problem with a company go to the Federal Trade Commission or your State Attorney General. They are much more likely to be able to give you some serious assistance in getting satisfaction from an abusive company.
  • Speed for what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by toxtothogrady (765950) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @03:16PM (#8690466) Homepage
    If we're talking about desktops here, not servers, what exactly does the average user crave all this speed for? Is it just for games? Most of my thirty-something friends use PCs primarily for playing games or net-surfing with crappy-non-standards-compliant Explorer.

    With 15 years of print design under my belt, my G4s seem plenty fast for high-end Photoshop work and anything else I throw at it. How fast does the average "business" machine need to be? I'm all for speed increases, but the PC vs. Mac speed debate is so OLD! Dell must be a huge crybaby to call shenanigans on an ad that's already played out.

    Mac users know our Macs aren't the fastest, and most of us (I'll wager) were skeptical about Apple's G5 claim. Fact is, we don't really care. I'm making a living with these so-called "slow" computers, not playing Jedi Academy. I'd never trade a slow G4 for a fast Dell, unless I really needed a better gaming machine.

    BTW, I do play Jedi Academy, and it rocks! Don't tell my wife...
  • by Lars T. (470328) <Lars DOT Traeger AT googlemail DOT com> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @03:22PM (#8690499) Journal
    Apple's SPEC scores for the DELLs were just as valid as the ones DELL gave, they just used a different compiler than DELL. The claim was true that using the same compiler on both computers the G5 was faster. DELL with it.
  • Fastest, eh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Swedentom (670978) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @03:55PM (#8690679) Homepage
    How do you measure the speed of a computer?
    Is a 3 GHz P4 with 4 MB RAM faster than a 1.6 GHz G5 with 16 GB RAM? Not likely. So it's not [only] the clock frequency of the CPU that matters.
    A fast computer is, IMHO, one which allows me to perform a certain task in a short time. Think about it - isn't this what _really_ matters? Can I write my essays in a shorter time on a 2 GHz G5 than an old iMac? Not really.

    Comparing Macs and Windows machines, I'd say Macs have always been faster, and will likely be for quite some time. Since the G5 is the fastest Mac, I'd say it's the fastest computer.
    My two cents.
  • by LoudMusic (199347) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:54PM (#8692490)
    I could be wrong, but haven't Sun, SGI and DEC all been making 64 bit workstations for like ... 10 or more years? That was my complaint with those Apple ads.

    The other ad I really hated was the original G3 ad that claimed, "Own a SuperComputer". Yeah, it's a super computer ... compared to the standards based circa 1980. Moore tells us that you'd have to have 256 of those G3s to have a modern super computer in 1999 when those ads were run. Which incedently would have gotten them in the Top 500 in 1999.

    (:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28, 2004 @12:32AM (#8693823)
    Buddy you do realize that Dell was censured by this same group (NAD - BBB) EARLIER THIS MONTH for a similar reason? That complaint was brought by Sun and concerned slanting an advertised server comparison in their favour. Before you go lecturing mankind, you ought to get your "good guys" straight. Sheesh!
  • by mh101 (620659) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @02:37AM (#8694306)
    It's been posted over and over again, things like "PC" vs. "Workstation" classifications, processor speeds, etc.

    But I bet one of the big things that make the G5 faster isn't the hardware, but the software. Which do you think would be a more efficient OS - bloated Windows XP, or OSX, based on BSD? And another thing, regarding the UI itself - isn't OSX's GUI fully 3D-accellerated? So the processor isn't having to spend near as much time handling the drawing of the GUI compared to either Windows or X11, leaving it free to work on other tasks.

    Plus, a lot of it has to do with the UI design. Most slashdotters can probably accomplish most file-related tasks (copying, moving, deleting, etc.) faster using a CLI than GUI. And among different GUIs, some allow you to perform tasks quicker than others.

    So I'm sure that if you ran a full set of benchmarks on a G5, it likely would rank lower than other top-of-the-line PCs. But as far as real usage instead of similated benchmarks, I'm certain the G5 is on top.
  • by IncohereD (513627) <mmacleod@iCHICAGOeee.org minus city> on Sunday March 28, 2004 @02:33PM (#8696894) Homepage
    My point was that Intel uses a circuit that's exactly as efficient as the G5: a P4 does four floating point add/multiply operations per clock cycle, just like the G5. When it comes down to absolute performance, using a well optimized compiler and the same algorithm, there's no difference between a P4, Athlon, or G5. I have actually tested this, using some linear algebra benchmarks that really depend on CPU power. Apple and AMD are lying when they claim superior performance.

    Real math is more than just adds and multiplies. Try doing vector operations, or multiple input instructions, or any other number of complex operations. THIS is where the CPUs different.

    Also, notice that most DSPs (and the G4/5s) have multiply and add instructions, that take one clock cycle, because that operation occurs so frequently in DSP. That's certainly not in base x86, and I'm not sure if it is or is not in any of the SSE instructions.

    Also, your mention of compilers is telling. It takes 5 or 10 years for compilers to really mature on any given architecture. So when we're talking about processors that are only a year or two old, compilers can make a HUGE difference.

    Not to mention all the scheduling of operations that takes place on the CPU, and the differences in how many parallel things they can do.

    Just because the most efficient multiplier circuit may be well known doesn't mean there aren't still tradeoffs in CPU design.

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