- Oct 15, 2004
Macs really do suck. This is probably their worst move ever.
Chicago Tribune said:Apple Expected to Announce Switch to Intel
By GREG SANDOVAL and MATTHEW FORDAHL
AP Technology Writers
Published June 6, 2005, 11:59 AM CDT
SAN FRANCISCO -- In a risky move that could further shrink its minuscule slice of the PC market, Apple Computer Inc. is expected to announce plans to switch in its Macintosh lines to the same Intel chips used in systems that run Microsoft Windows.
Apple, which for years suggested its users "Think Different," would be joining all other PC makers in using chips built around the x86 microarchitecture.
It would drop PowerPC-based microprocessors from International Business Machines Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc.
Details of the announcement, first reported by CNET Networks Inc. and The Wall Street Journal, were expected to emerge Monday from Apple CEO Steve Jobs at a conference for software developers.
Though such a move could potentially end complaints that Macs are too expensive, slower and suffer from a lack of programs compared with Windows-based systems, it's also a major gamble for Apple.
For one, it means that all programs now built for PowerPC-based Macs will have to either be rewritten or run through an emulator to work on Intel-based Macs. And anyone with a Mac today might not be able to run software built for the computers after the switch.
Apple has made similar moves in the past -- and each time its market share has shrunk, said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at the research firm Insight 64.
In the mid-1980s, the Mac captured as much as 10 percent of the overall PC market, he said. When Apple switched from the Motorola 68000 processors, the Mac's share dropped to below 5 percent. When the Mac's operating system changed to OS X, it fell to below 3 percent.
"I have a lot of trouble understanding why they would do it," Brookwood said. "Unless there's something magical, I would have to believe it's not a good move. My concern is that every time Apple makes an architecture shift, many of its customers and development partners say enough is enough."
Officials from Apple, Intel Corp. and IBM declined to comment Monday in advance of Jobs' speech.
News.com reported that Apple would begin the transition to Intel with its lower-end computers, such as the Mac Mini, in mid-2006 and higher-end models a year later.
Apple's break with IBM stemmed from Jobs' wish that IBM make a larger variety of the PowerPC processors used in Macintosh systems. IBM balked because of concerns over the profitability of a low-volume business, News.com reported.
By wrestling away Apple's business from IBM, Intel would tighten its dominance of the PC processor business. The company holds more than an 80 percent share of the market.
Although IBM suffers a setback with the loss of Apple, the company could reap a financial windfall from deals with Microsoft Corp., Nintendo and Sony Corp. to put microprocessors it is producing in next-generation video-game consoles.
A new microprocessor that IBM co-developed with Sony and Toshiba Corp., code-named Cell and planned for Sony's next PlayStation console, is being touted as capable of delivering 10 times the performance of today's PC processors.