The computer and technology industry should simplify its language and focus on marketing products that consumers really need and can understand, according to an executive at chip-maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). In the midst of a campaign to change the discussion about microchips from one focused on clock speed, or computing cycles per second, to one on performance based on specific applications, AMD has formed an industry group to study what the company calls the technology gap. Vice-president for consumer advocacy Patrick Moorehead, who is in charge of both projects, is touring Asia to spread the message. The slowdown in the industry could be blamed on the fact that vendors had been pushing new technologies faster than consumers were able to grasp them, Mr Moorehead said. Renewed growth would depend on changing the vocabulary. 'The technology gap is fundamentally the spread between all the innovation out there in the market place and people's ability to internalise all this technology. 'Part of that is the language that we use, whether it's 802.11a, 802.11b, 1394 Firewire, DDR, all of these are just alphabet soup that the customer doesn't really understand,' Mr Moorehead said. AMD organised the Consumer Advocacy Initiative last year, and held its first advisory panel meeting in April. The group includes Chinadotcom chief operating officer Vicky Hung, international academics and specialists on small and medium-sized businesses. Its plans included studying how well 'tech talk' was understood by all types of consumers, Mr Moorehead said. 'Let's come up with a vocabulary people can understand. Let's dumb down the talk for those who want it simple. Keep access to the hi-tech specs for those enthusiasts who have to have the specs,' he said. The formation of the advisory panel on consumer issues is just half of the public relations battle AMD is fighting. The California-based company, now the underdog of the microchip industry, is also challenging dominant Intel on methods for measuring chip performance. AMD began talking about 'true performance' 11 months ago in the hopes of moving the focus away from chip speed. The company's fastest microchip now runs at 2.133 gigahertz, or just over two billion cycles per second, while Intel's runs at 2.8GHz, with a 3GHz chip possibly being introduced at the firm's developers' conference this week. AMD contests that its chips run certain programs just as quickly, if not faster, because of different system architecture and it has won industry support on the issue. The company's questioning of the latest benchmark test, Sysmark2002, sparked widespread debate. AMD, which only recently joined the organisation responsible for creating Sysmark, said the latest benchmark removed tests that favoured AMD's chips and amplified the results of some that favoured Intel. Mr Moorehead said the company would seek to have a say in the creation of Sysmark2003, but for now it recommended consumers use other benchmark tests or refer to results which use specific applications that they are interested in running. AMD's campaign comes at a time when the personal-computer market is stagnant and chip-makers are slashing prices to retain market share. Mr Moorehead expected the company to continue with its debate on what it called the megahertz myth. 'It took 25 years to program people, it's going to take a little bit longer than 11 months to explain to people what true performance is,' he said. Intel's twice-yearly developers' conference in California will probably bring announcements on the upcoming Banias line of chips built specifically for mobile computing.