View Full Version : Apple to ditch IBM, switch to Intel chips

06-04-2005, 09:41 PM
I'm shocked, although I wish Apple would make a deal to just use AMD chips instead.


Apple Computer plans to announce Monday that it's scrapping its partnership with IBM and switching its computers to Intel's microprocessors, CNET News.com has learned. (http://news.com.com/Apple+to+ditch+IBM%2C+switch+to+Intel+chips/2100-1006_3-5731398.html?part=rss&tag=5731398&subj=news)

Apple has used IBM's PowerPC processors since 1994, but will begin a phased transition to Intel's chips, sources familiar with the situation said. Apple plans to move lower-end computers such as the Mac Mini to Intel chips in mid-2006 and higher-end models such as the Power Mac in mid-2007, sources said.

The announcement is expected Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, at which Chief Executive Steve Jobs is giving the keynote speech. The conference would be an appropriate venue: Changing the chips would require programmers to rewrite their software to take full advantage of the new processor.

IBM, Intel and Apple declined to comment for this story.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Apple was considering switching to Intel, but many analysts were skeptical citing the difficulty and risk to Apple.

That skepticism remains. "If they actually do that, I will be surprised, amazed and concerned," said Insight 64 analyst Nathan Brookwood. "I don't know that Apple's market share can survive another architecture shift. Every time they do this, they lose more customers" and more software partners, he said.

Apple successfully navigated a switch in the 1990s from Motorola's 680x0 line of processors to the Power line jointly made by Motorola and IBM. That switch also required software to be revamped to take advantage of the new processors' performance, but emulation software permitted older programs to run on the new machines. (Motorola spinoff Freescale currently makes PowerPC processors for Apple notebooks and the Mac Mini.)

The relationship between Apple and IBM has been rocky at times. Apple openly criticized IBM for chip delivery problems, though Big Blue said it fixed the issue. More recent concerns, which helped spur the Intel deal, included tension between Apple's desire for a wide variety of PowerPC processors and IBM's concerns about the profitability of a low-volume business, according to one source familiar with the partnership.

Over the years, Apple has discussed potential deals with Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, chipmaker representatives have said.

One advantage Apple has this time: The open-source FreeBSD operating system, of which Mac OS X is a variant, already runs on x86 chips such as Intel's Pentium. And Jobs has said Mac OS X could easily run on x86 chips.

The move also raises questions about Apple's future computer strategy. One basic choice it has in the Intel-based PC realm is whether to permit its Mac OS X operating system to run on any company's computer or only its own.

IBM loses cachet with the end of the Apple partnership, but it can take consolation in that it's designing and manufacturing the Power family processors for future gaming consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Ninendo, said Clay Ryder, a Sageza Group analyst.

"I would think in the sheer volume, all the stuff they're doing with the game consoles would be bigger. But anytime you lose a high-profile customer, that hurts in ways that are not quantifiable but that still hurt," Ryder said.

Previous Next Indeed, IBM has a "Power Everywhere" marketing campaign to tout the wide use of its Power processors. The chips show up in everything from networking equipment to IBM servers to the most powerful supercomputer, Blue Gene/L.

Intel dominates the PC processor business, with an 81.7 percent market share in the first quarter of 2005, compared with 16.9 percent for Advanced Micro Devices, according to Dean McCarron of Mercury Research. Those numbers do not include PowerPC processors. However, Apple has roughly 1.8 percent of the worldwide PC market, he added.

Apple shipped 1.07 million PCs in the first quarter, and its move to Intel would likely bump up the chipmaker's shipments by a corresponding amount, McCarron added.

CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos and Richard Shim contributed to this report.

06-04-2005, 10:19 PM
Wonder how Microsoft feels about this...

06-04-2005, 10:56 PM
I wouldn't get my hopes up about installing Mac OS X in PC hardware, though. Apple needs to sell computer systems to survive as a company.

This has been rumored for a while.

06-06-2005, 07:05 PM
Now I hear Apple is switching to Sun chips (http://stevenf.com/mt/archives/2005/06/apple_to_switch.php).


Apple CEO Steve Jobs today revealed to a stunned WWDC audience that Apple would be transitioning to Sun Chips® brand multigrain snacks.

"Have you tried these suckers?" said the enigmatic head of Apple, referring to the "Harvest Cheddar" variety. "They're fantastic!"

The mercurial Jobs paused to stuff a fistful of the Frito-Lay-manufactured snacks into his mouth.

"Jusht amashing," he continued, brushing cheddar dust from his trademark black turtleneck. "We think these are the best chips money can buy, and a full bag will be included with every new Macintosh sold."

The company plans a rapid transition to the new chips. Citing a "ramp-up of production", Jobs committed to personally eating 3,000 bags by next summer, and encouraged developers to do their part. "Although, from the looks of things, you're all doing just fine on the snack front," said Jobs, to stony silence.

Jobs then did a cartwheel before pointing both index fingers towards the crowd in a "dual handgun" gesture. "Zinger!" he exclaimed.

Apple's stock fell 1.23% on the news.

06-06-2005, 07:19 PM

Apple announces transition to Intel chips
Monday, June 6, 2005 @ 2:00pm

At Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference today, CEO Steve Jobs announced plans to deliver Macs using Intel microprocessors by this time next year, and to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007. Apple previewed a version of Mac OS X running on an Intel-based computer to the over 3,800 developers attending CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address. Apple also announced the availability of a Developer Transition Kit, consisting of an Intel-based Mac development system along with preview versions of Apple’s software, which will allow developers to prepare versions of their applications which will run on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. During his keynote, Jobs revealed that Mac OS X has been "leading secret double life." Every release of Mac OS X has been built secretly for both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs. For the last 5 years, Mac OS X has been "cross-platform by design."

Jobs explained how the transition will affect developers. Widget, Scripts, and Java will work without modification. Cocoa/Xcode programs will require "a few days" of work, with "tweaks" and a recompile. Carbon Apps will have to be transferred to Xcode. A new version of Xcode, delivered today, generates a single "universal binary" that supports both processors.

Jobs later introduced Wolfram's CEO, who said his company ported Mathematica 5 to Intel-based Macs in 2 hours.

“Our goal is to provide our customers with the best personal computers in the world, and looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “It’s been ten years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel’s technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next ten years.”

“We are thrilled to have the world’s most innovative personal computer company as a customer,” said Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel. “Apple helped found the PC industry and throughout the years has been known for fresh ideas and new approaches. We look forward to providing advanced chip technologies, and to collaborating on new initiatives, to help Apple continue to deliver innovative products for years to come.”

“We plan to create future versions of Microsoft Office for the Mac that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,” said Roz Ho, general manager of Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit. “We have a strong relationship with Apple and will work closely with them to continue our long tradition of making great applications for a great platform.”

“We think this is a really smart move on Apple’s part and plan to create future versions of our Creative Suite for Macintosh that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,” said Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe. The Developer Transition Kit is available starting today for $1000 to all Apple Developer Connection Select and Premier members. Further information for Apple Developer Connection members is available at developer.apple.com. Intel plans to provide industry leading development tools support for Apple later this year, including the Intel C/C++ Compiler for Apple, Intel Fortran Compiler for Apple, Intel Math Kernel Libraries for Apple and Intel Integrated Performance Primitives for Apple.

06-07-2005, 12:41 AM
Cheaper hardware from Apples point of view.

I never thought they would do it..but with IBM being the supplier for the ps3 and Xbox2 guess Apple needed to do something.

06-07-2005, 07:25 AM
I wouldn't get my hopes up about installing Mac OS X in PC hardware, though. Apple needs to sell computer systems to survive as a company.

This has been rumored for a while.

No OS X on a reg PC but how bout XP on a Mac?

"Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller addressed the issue of running Windows on Macs, saying there are no plans to sell or support Windows on an Intel-based Mac. "That doesn't preclude someone from running it on a Mac. They probably will," he said. "We won't do anything to preclude that." However, Schiller said the company does not plan to let people run Mac OS X on other computer makers' hardware. "We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac."

To me this could turn out extremely well for Apple, wanna try a mac but don't want to buy a 2nd computer for windows if you don't like it? well now you don't have to..just get XP and run it on your Apple ;) MS might not like it, but then they would still make a pretty penny selling boxed copies of XP

Exciting stuff :D