06/09/2005: More on Apple's decision to start porting to Intel hardware...
Robert X. "The Real Bob" Cringely has an interesting analysis. If true, it might spell the first real chance for the end of Microsoft dominance of the PC desktop:
[W]hat is the driving force [behind Apple's move to Intel hardware]?
Here is my analysis based on not much more than pondering the five questions, above, and speaking with a few old friends in the business. I won't say there is no insider information involved, but darned little.
The obvious questions about performance and 64-bit computing come down to marketing. At first, I thought that Steve Jobs was somehow taking up the challenge of making users believe war was peace and hate was love simply to show that he could do it. Steve is such a powerful communicator and so able to deceive people that for just a moment, I thought maybe he was doing this as a pure tour du force -- just because he could.
Nah. Not even Steve Jobs would try that.
The vaunted Intel roadmap is nice, but no nicer than the AMD roadmap, and nothing that IBM couldn't have matched. If Apple was willing to consider a processor switch, moving to the Cell Processor would have made much more sense than going to Intel or AMD, so I simply have to conclude that technology has nothing at all to do with this decision. This is simply about business -- BIG business.
Another clue comes from HP, where a rumor is going around that HP selling iPods could turn into HP becoming an Apple hardware partner for personal computers, too.
Microsoft comes into this because Intel hates Microsoft. It hasn't always been that way, but in recent years Microsoft has abused its relationship with Intel and used AMD as a cudgel against Intel. Even worse, from Intel's standpoint Microsoft doesn't work hard enough to challenge its hardware. For Intel to keep growing, people have to replace their PCs more often and Microsoft's bloatware strategy just isn't making that happen, especially if they keep delaying Longhorn.
Enter Apple. This isn't a story about Intel gaining another three percent market share at the expense of IBM, it is about Intel taking back control of the desktop from Microsoft.
Intel is fed up with Microsoft. Microsoft has no innovation that drives what Intel must have, which is a use for more processing power. And when they did have one with the Xbox, they went elsewhere.
So Intel buys Apple and works with their OEMs to get products out in the market. The OEMs would love to be able to offer a higher margin product with better reliability than Microsoft. Intel/Apple enters the market just as Microsoft announces yet another delay in their next generation OS. By the way, the new Apple OS for the Intel Architecture has a compatibility mode with Windows (I'm just guessing on this one).
This scenario works well for everyone except Microsoft. If Intel was able to own the Mac OS and make it available to all the OEMs, it could break the back of Microsoft. And if they tuned the OS to take advantage of unique features that only Intel had, they would put AMD back in the box, too. Apple could return Intel to its traditional role of being where all the value was in the PC world. And Apple/Intel could easily extend this to the consumer electronics world. How much would it cost Intel to buy Apple? Not much. And if they paid in stock it would cost nothing at all since investors would drive shares through the roof on a huge swell of user enthusiasm.
That's the story as I see it unfolding. Steve Jobs finally beats Bill Gates. And with the sale of Apple to Intel, Steve accepts the position of CEO of the Pixar/Disney/Sony Media Company.
Remember, you read it here first.
Len on 06.09.05 @ 01:09 PM CST