Apple has been a swell sweetheart for IBM. Over the past few years, Apple has been using the IBM POWER architecture (and the PowerPC chip) in the heart of its desktops and servers. This was not always the case. When Apple first began, Steve and Woz used the MOS 6502 chip. [Note: this was not a Motorola chipset, although it was designed by former Motorola engineers.] When the Macintosh appeared on the scene, Apple moved to Motorola as its chip foundry and the 68000 as its chip. And the Power architecture is a direct descendant of the Motorola 68000 product family.
So IBM has been supplying chips for Apple for a very long time. But now, Apple may be changing its foundry once again. Everyone (including Ziff Davis) is now reporting that Apple will abandon the IBM PowerPC in favor of Intel chips. While IBM will supply chips throughout 2005, that relationship will end when new Apple systems are released in 2006.
Is this “a good thing” or is it something else? I’m voting for this being a “very good thing.” First competition is always good. And I love to see competition in the desktop. So come 2006, we can buy an Intel based desktop and we can (hopefully) choose whether we want Windows, Linux or Mac OSX. Wow. Maybe we’ll see some real pressure on the desktop OS. While Linux is cool (and I’ve been using it as a desktop for seven years), bringing the kitch of Apple to the household desktop (and the living room digital entertainment experience) will really force Microsoft to do some new and daring things. This could be a lot of fun – and a real spark in functionality for the general user! 🙂
Update 6/6/05 12:30 CDT
Boy, the net is running on overdrive on this story. BroadbandReports is positively humming. One of the best summary articles is Daniel Drew Turner’s article at eWeek. Not everyone is buying this as a legtimate story. Boy, if this isn’t real, Apple really is the master of spin!
Update 6/6/05 1:30 CDT
It’s confirmed. Here’s the Apple announcement.