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Cringley Thinks Apple & Intel Are Merging 834

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-that-would-be-something dept.
SamSeaborn writes "In Bob Cringely's latest column he talks about the Apple switch to Intel and concludes: 'what's behind the announcement is so baffling and staggering that it isn't surprising that nobody has yet figured it out until now. Apple and Intel are merging.' "
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Cringley Thinks Apple & Intel Are Merging

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:38PM (#12774692)
    I have an idea for a new Slashdot section. Instead of doing interviews, we should pit two self-proclaimed tech pundits against each other in a FUD deathmatch. For week #1, I suggest Dvorak vs. Cringely (not Cringley, Taco). The rules: they each post their own hilarious Nostradamus-like predictions about the future of tech. The winner is the one who gets the most slashdotters posting "what the fuck?" in the comments that follow. Also acceptable are "Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.", or "The goggles, they do nothing!", with other variations (such as clever Soviet Russia jokes) subject to approval by the editors.

    Apple merging with Intel is a brilliant first move by Cringely. What say you, Slashdotters? Begin!
    • by SnprBoB86 (576143) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:45PM (#12774782) Homepage
      In Soviet Russia, Dvorak and Cringely Wiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. YOU!
      • Only old people read Crigely in Korea.
      • All this mirth and joviality is inappropriate, considering the prolific author Steven King has died today at age 55.

        As a gesture of respect, let's abstain from jokes about hot grits being poured down pants, Natalie Portman, and the pathetic pasttimes of old people in Korea and take a quite moment to imagine a beowolf cluster of Apple computers running on Intel architecture!
    • by aheath (628369) * <adam DOT heath AT comcast DOT net> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:45PM (#12774784)
      All we need is an 'Elmer Fud' [google.com] icon for this section and well be all set!

      Apple is actually switching to Intel to smooth the way for a merger with Sun. Sun is going to abandon SPARC technology in favor of Intel technology. Sun is going to stop building low end workstations and ship Intel based Apple computers.

      • by Ninwa (583633) <jbleau@gmail.com> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:50PM (#12774842) Homepage Journal
        In the unlikely event that all of this happens could you send me your autograph signed on a postcard?
      • by TopSpin (753) * on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:25PM (#12775144) Journal
        Apple is actually switching to Intel to smooth the way for a merger with Sun.

        You're out of your mind. Intel isn't interested in merging with Apple. Intel is buying HP to resurrect Alpha, which is "the Intel chip" to which Apple is actually porting OS-X.

        Besides, when a company with 30B USD market cap becomes a part of a company with 170B USD market cap it's called an acquisition, not a "merger."

        Sun's fate is to be purchased by NVidia. They plan to base their "next gen" graphics processors on duel core SPARC technology, obviously.

        Meanwhile, RedHat is looking at SGI; the MIPS architecture will play host to yet another port of OS-X licensed from Apple by RedHat.
      • by bwintx (813768) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:02PM (#12775470)
        Sssssssh. Be vewwy, vewwy quiet. I'm hunting wackos. Ha ha ha ha.
      • by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:03PM (#12775476) Homepage
        Sun will be purchased by Microsoft for around $2/share, or about $5billion, in about 8-9 months, after another 2 quarters of abysmal sales. The deal is already on, and SUN will be a microsoft division, so MS gets java and a real unix to compete against IBM.

        The reason why Sun bought Storagetek is that Sun needed to convert its cash reserves into company stock, because that can be depressed below actual value, and cash can't. Microsoft might also have wanted to acquire Storagetek tech, because while it sells hardware, the magic of the company is in the software, and that's up MS's alley (imagine real one-button disaster recovery built into Office).

        Sun has already abandoned SPARC. They don't have the cash to hire the engineers they need to make it a go. MS will promise to do that, but won't.

        Apple and Sun? Yes. Where does that leave AMD? with Nvidia, catering to the very high end gamers, and the e-machines of the world, and linux boxes (lots of them really).

        Apple + Intel means software and hardware in proprietary tandem. This will make AMD much less competitive, edged out like alpha and sparc to a fringe, then to nothing, IF apple and intel successfully market their new Apple OSX Intel Inside laptops. If not, then AMD takes the cake and Intel gets edged out long term (which is my prediction).

        Sun customers are either moving to linux / z/OS on IBM mainframes or Linux on Dell servers. If Sun does not get acquired, it will end up like SCO.

        There are enough forward-looking statements in my post that you should bring your salt shaker.

    • by EccentricAnomaly (451326) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:48PM (#12774805) Homepage
      Quoth Cringely: "Certainly, he never said WHICH Intel chip they'd be using, just mentioning an unnamed 3.6-Ghz development system -- a system which apparently doesn't benchmark very well, either (it's in the links)."

      Those stupid benchmarks are comparing a G5 running native PPC code to the 3.6 Ghz Pentium running PPC code under emulation. Follow Cringely's link to an article that in turn links to ThinkSecret which then explains that the benchmarks are for Rosetta.
      • by Paradox (13555) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:55PM (#12774901) Homepage Journal
        That the P4 3.6Ghz Rosetta benchmarks outspec my Dual 800 G4.

        I have never felt so inadequate in my life. I know my machine is nearly 4 years old, but to get owned by a machine doing binary translation? Ouch. :)
        • by WolfWithoutAClause (162946) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:39PM (#12775761) Homepage
          Don't feel bad, Rosetta is probably based on a project called 'Dynamo' [arstechnica.com] which was an HP project that did binary translation of PA-8000 processor code to the self-same PA-8000, running on the same machine(!)

          In other words, it was an PA-8000 emulator, running on PA-8000. And it very often ran faster!!!! (Between 5 and 40%, occasionally slower, but then it switched itself off and ran natively.)

          Obviously there was a trick; and it was that it was able to do stuff like straighten out code, which improved cache usage, and measure how the code actually ran, rather than how the compiler thought it might run, and generally do great run-time decisions.

          • Umm... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Paradox (13555) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:48PM (#12775840) Homepage Journal
            I'm pretty sure that Apple has admitted to the devs at WWDC that Rosetta is in fact a Transative-powered technology.

            We all knew that Transative believed they had something big. Evidently they do. The Mach-O binaries with their lazy symbol lookup provide a very nice, natural framework for Rosetta to run.
            • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Informative)

              by g1zmo (315166) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @09:58PM (#12776717) Homepage
              On a completely unrelated note: I wanted to add another pet peeve of mine regarding Latin phrases. It's when people write "et. al." rather than "et al.". There should be no period after the "et" because "et" is the entire word. Thanks for listening.
          • by Snart Barfunz (526615) on Friday June 10, 2005 @04:09AM (#12778225)
            Too bad they never got to the next stage of their project - PA-8000 emulator, running on PA-8000 emulator. This is the true future of computing. If I can run an emulator on an emulator, I no longer need the physical computer and end up with an infinitely fast computer with zero energy requirements. Just need to crack the problem of input and display devices...
    • GOOD NEWS! (Score:5, Funny)

      by MustardMan (52102) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:48PM (#12774810)
      It's a suppository
    • by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:55PM (#12774902) Homepage Journal
      When I started to reply to you, I thought Cringely was a nom de plume for a set of columnists. Turns out it's not quite correct, but the story is interesting [absoluteastronomy.com]. He's a computer writer who can't legally write (under that name) for a computer publication. Hunh.

      And the reason? Because Dvorak held the position before him.

      --
      Evan

      • The True Cringely? (Score:5, Informative)

        by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:00PM (#12775454) Homepage
        InfoWorld still runs a column by yet another columnist who goes by the name Robert X. Cringeley. [infoworld.com] It's sort of an IT industry gossip/society column, and it's often actually pretty good.
        • by IPFreely (47576) <mark@mwiley.org> on Friday June 10, 2005 @09:16AM (#12779542) Homepage Journal
          In the beginning there was one Cringely. It was a pen name used in a gossip column in Infoworld magazine. Several people went through that job using that name.

          One of those people (I think his name was Mark Williams, or something like that, but I'm not sure) who was fairly popular in that job in the early nineties left the job. When he did, he took the name with him and used it in other publishing. He had a big spat with Infoworld but eventually earned the right to continue using the name.

          So now he is with PBS, has made several TV specials on the history of computing, and writes this column for them.

          Meanwhile Infoworld continues the way they allways have with their gossip column. I have not read it regularly since Mark left, prefering to read his PBS column instead.

      • by insignificant1 (872511) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:06PM (#12775969)

        Dvorak held the position before Mark Stephens. When Stephens came to Infoworld, the mag decided to use a pseudonym rather than have to change the by-line, I assume, every time another Dvorak/Stephens came & left.

        So Dvorak's departure is probably the reason for creating the pseudonym R.X. Cringley.

        But Stephens wanted to keep the pseudonym after later leaving Infoworld. Hence the lawsuit with Infoworld publisher IDG, likely because both Infoworld and Stephens had built the reputations of the column / columnist on the Cringely name.

        The resulting settlement out of court is why Stephens can't use the Cringely name for publishing in a computer publication.

        So hopefully I clarified the parent.

        Cringely Story [wikipedia.org]

    • by xanderwilson (662093) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:40PM (#12775277) Homepage
      Nope. Not gonna say anything. Ain't no way I'm eating crow twice in one week.
    • by focitrixilous P (690813) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:25PM (#12775654) Journal
      I for one welcome our new pundit overlords.
    • I'm glad to see so many agree. I read this and thought the guy must be either heroically misinformed or smoking a seriously high grade of crack.

      I won't go into all of his points but the 64bit bit is torn to shreds by the article over at Ars. Apple are moving to Intel from the bottom up, not the top down. At the moment only the G5 offerings are 64 bit so there is no regression by moving all the G4s to 32bit Intel chips first while Apple wait for Intel's 64bit chips to come along by the end of 2007 which is
  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:38PM (#12774699)
    Apple + super heated Intel blowtorches = hot apple pies?
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by Drakonian (518722) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:39PM (#12774704) Homepage
    I wish I could get some of the crystal meth that Cringely and Dvorak are regularly smoking.
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheKidWho (705796) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:57PM (#12774917)
      seriously me too

      ertainly, he never said WHICH Intel chip they'd be using, just mentioning an unnamed 3.6-Ghz development system -- a system which apparently doesn't benchmark very well, either (it's in the links).

      Ok for one they specifically said its a Pentium 4. Secondly, the xcode benchmarks were EMULATED you fucking fool. Native performance is much much better. Third, he's an idiot Intel will have x86-64pentiums out well before apple completes there switch to Intel.

      Question 3: Where the heck is AMD?
      They have the same exact supply issues as apple numbnutz.

      Question 4: Why announce this chip swap a year before it will even begin for customers?

      So that the developers don't bitch about suddenly having to transfer all their programs in one month to x86 you fucking idiot.

      Not to mention Intel has a much better mobile roadmap then IBM or AMD.

      Overall this guy is a fucking idiot.
  • Aptel (Score:5, Funny)

    by spungo (729241) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:39PM (#12774708)
    Sounds like a Belgian lager, doesn't it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:39PM (#12774709)
    Is Cringley always this batshit insane?
  • Pfft. (Score:5, Funny)

    by aftk2 (556992) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:39PM (#12774711) Homepage Journal
    That's about as likely as Apple switching to x86.

    Oh wait...
  • by NZheretic (23872) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:40PM (#12774715) Homepage Journal
    Apple+Intel:Mac 924 Vs Microsoft Gremlin & Linux Mini-van [itgarage.com]
    This leaves Apple with a choice. Either continue to remain the sole supplier of hardware for MacOS/X and loose a large chunk of the desktop market share OR choose to directly compete with Microsoft and let Dell, Lenovo and HP sell Apple designed/approved "built for MacOS/X" laptops and PCs. The OEMs would love to have Apple and Microsoft competing to sell on the OEMs own hardware.

    In my opinion if Apple does not choose the latter option, then it only because of very bad decisions by Apple's management or Sherman Act violating non-compete agreements with Microsoft.

    • every analogy limps.

      this one has no legs at all!
    • by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:22PM (#12776092) Homepage Journal
      "This leaves Apple with a choice. Either continue to remain the sole supplier of hardware for MacOS/X and loose a large chunk of the desktop market share ..."

      First off, Apple has made the choice you describe several times. Every time, they chose to keep running the show. Their proprietary hardware and software (which now runs on an open source middle-layer, which is kind of funny) are very much a part of the corporate mindset at Apple for good or ill.

      That said, I think Apple has grander plans than you give them credit for.

      The iPod is exactly what Apple needed (and has tried to do several times before) to kick-start the Mac's market-share. Eventually, the entertainment desktop of choice will be a Mac with various Apple peripherals. Don't be shocked to see an Apple prosumer-grade digital camera for around $500, and Apple solid-state camcorder, and Apple PVR and any number of other entertainment peripherals for which the best software will reside on the Mac (with merely adequate versions for Windows, and perhaps even for Linux).

      Apple is beginning to eye the space that Microsoft thinks they're going to own with the X-Box, but there's a gigantic difference between the two: one is percieved as a game box and the other as "that computer the really smart people use." That's some pretty serious branding mojo if Apple uses it right.
  • by spyrral (162842) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:41PM (#12774730) Journal
    "If I was right about Apple switching to Intel, maybe some of my other crack-induced hallucinations are true too!"
  • by moofdaddy (570503) * on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:41PM (#12774732) Homepage
    No Fucking Way. My asshole may still be stretched after all the monkeys flying out of it from the intel announcemet, but I am still willing to say that there isn't a chance in hell of this happening.
  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Epistax (544591) <epistax@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:41PM (#12774737) Journal
    They DID hug.. though I think it's pretty obvious Jobs enjoyed it more. After all, he's a mac user.



    <ducks>
  • by syzler (748241) <davidNO@SPAMsyzdek.net> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:41PM (#12774741)
    iPod, iBook, iSight.
  • by MooseByte (751829) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:45PM (#12774773)

    "Apple and Intel are merging."

    It's official - The Macintel Speculation Circus has now officially "jumped the shark".

    I can only expect that soon Fonzie's long lost nephew will arrive on the scene dressed as Charlie Chaplin, advertising the new "Macintel PC Jr EXTREME".

  • by callipygian-showsyst (631222) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:46PM (#12774788) Homepage
    ...and will offer stiff competition for the Goodyear Blimp!
  • by theurge14 (820596) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:48PM (#12774804)
    Well, I sure would hate to be the one who has to break it to the Blue Man Group to start thinking different or leave.
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel@NosPam.johnhummel.net> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:50PM (#12774829) Homepage
    But I'll bet on "getting in bed together", "sleeping together", so on and so forth.

    As for the rest about Microsoft, I'll buy that. In fact, I think that the whole "Mac on Intel" thing will sell well because of Microsoft.

    At first.

    See, there's several people who, upon considering a Mac, say this:

    "I'd get one, but I'd have to rebuy all of my old applications."
    "I'd get one, but I like to play games."

    Those are the 2 biggest reasons - not performance, not quality, it's always "apps and games".

    Now, with an Intel based Mac, they can say:

    "Well, I'll buy the Apple because they make good machines, and if OS X is crap then I'll just install Windows."

    If Apple really works on shining up Wine (or buys out some other Wine based company - Crossover I believe?), then they can offer Windows compatibility with a certain number of apps, perhaps a solid list such as Photoshop, Office, etc (and grow the list as necessary).

    So now if a Windows user buys a Mac, they can have the best of both worlds: they can keep their apps, and they can run either Windows via dual boot for what they *must*, or (emulated? translated?) the Wine type service instead of rebooting (even better, since they can keep all the Apple goodness with them.)

    Windows sells the same as before, everybody's happy.

    Except that if this works, and *if* Apple's market share climbs, more app writers make Mac versions of their products for their customers. Sure, there's the "Oh, no, they won't because they'll just wrote for Windows for compatiblity" - there will be those, but the ones that see a competitive market edge giving "*FULL* OS X compatibility" over their competition (sorry for using compet* so often) will make OS X based apps.

    And lets face it, what are the big applications?

    Browser
    Email
    Music
    Office Suite (assuming that Microsoft keeps its promise and makes the next Mac Office more "exchange compatible", this will be more true)
    Photoshop-like products
    Movies

    Apple will have all of those, and everything else is just gravy.

    Then it becomes a feedback loop: more OS X apps, more market share. More market share, more good hardware drivers written. More good hardware drivers written, more hardware OS X can work with so more people buy since it supports their stuff. Apps have to keep up, so more OS X apps, etc.

    Now, fast forward 5 years from now, when Apple announces OS X for all beige machines, sold on Dell computers with a specific hardware list. If your hardware isn't on the list, it won't work - and how long will that take hardware developers to go "Shit! We'd better work on this thing before our competitors do!"

    Then Apple can go to the Enterprise and say "Hi! We're more secure than Microsoft, easier than Linux, and we run all of the apps you care about natively - and what we don't, we emulate so well you won't know the difference! Buy us!"

    Then the very Windows compatibility that helped Intel based Macs in the first place starts to hurt Windows.

    Of course, Microsoft will be doing their bit on the side, but now it will be *true* competition, which means we the consumers win. Linux is still around innovating and updating and dong well in the server end, Jobs makes even more money, and everything's good.

    Too optimistic? By far, I'm sure - the "OS X on a Dell" will probably never happen. But I don't see Intel and Apple merging - just Intel using Apple to sell more products and hold AMD, Microsoft, and Dell in control, and Apple selling more products and using AMD to threaten Intel when they need a better deal.

    Of course, this is all my opinion, things may change and I could be wrong - but let's just wait and see what will happen. I'm just excited about running Final Cut Pro Express and Half-Life on the same box within a year or so.
  • Next merger (Score:5, Funny)

    by Linker3000 (626634) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:50PM (#12774837) Journal
    SCO + M$ + RIAA + MPAA with Roland Piquepaille as CEO.

    Now go bitch about that organisation!
  • Is if Jobs was given CEO title of Intel/Apple and a buttload of control. Anything less than that, there is no way Jobs gives up power. Jobs is a control freak -- yeah, like he's going to hand over the keys to Apple and say to Intel, "Have fun with my personality-based cult!"
  • Umm. Whatever. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by soupdevil (587476) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:51PM (#12774848)
    This silly hypothesis is entirely based on the fact that Cringely can find no logical reason for Apple to choose Intel over AMD. But the real reason is much less interesting than the one he made up. The real reason is that AMD is already maxxed out on production capacity, and could not guarantee enough chips to Apple to make the switch. Imagine what would happen if Apple announced the switch to AMD, and then had to delay the launch of their new x86 products due to CPU shortages. That is the nightmare that Steve Jobs will avoid at all costs, and Intel is the only Tier-1 CPU manufacturer with excess capacity.
    • by mbkennel (97636) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:59PM (#12775924)
      Cringely can find no logical reason for Apple to choose Intel over AMD

      but other SMRT people can. Other than your obvious point, which is clearly the #1 driving motivation, as Jobs could see IBM devoting more and more effort to game boxes and embedded and its own POWER servers.

      (2) AMD is associated with "#2", "loser", etc. There's a big advantage for Apple to be seen with the Winner---finally!

      Shit, big companies won't buy AMD based computers even though they are 99% Intel compatible. On the other hand, many of them are tired of getting raped by Microsoft. Maybe there's something to the OSX thing---they'll think "not Windows, but without Linux geek crap".

      (3) Intel has MONEY that it gives to hardware manufacturers when they use that dorky "intel inside" ding dong ding dong in their advertisements

      (4) Intel has other chips, like networking, that AMD may nto.

      (5) Intel has mediocre desktop chips, but great low-power laptop chip*sets*.

      Guess who really sells lots of nifty notebooks with fancy well-integrated hardware?

      (At my latest scientific conference, I'd say that >40% of presenters had a Powerbook/iBook).

      (5) Apple gets almost half its revenue from iPods now. What stuff does AMD make, besides flash, that's really good for iPod?

      Wild ass crackhead prediction:

      Apple will never allow Dell or Compaq or beige boxes to run OSX.

      But there may eventually be a OSX-box, and especially "blade servers" which do make it into Windows-centric company rooms: they will say Intel on it, as Intel becomes a high end *systems* maker. Yup, the other companies will scream when their supplier starts competing against them.

      Intel's response: OK, you go ahead and bitch. If y'all want, you can open up a few dozen of your own multi-billion chip fab plants. But I think we'll be seeing ya back around here.

      It all works because of chip making economics.
      The capital required is now so immense that not only is there a huge barrier to entry, there's a huge barrier to even just increasing capacity.

      AMD doesn't have the capacity. Even if Sun and HP and Dell get all huffy and got to AMD they can't get enough supply there, and since the margins on the boxes are so low, the clients can't supply AMD with enough capital to greatly increase capacity either.

      And Intel has a habit of busting down the price just when AMD looks like it's starting to get ahead (financially). So AMD and its bankers won't take the risk of massive new expansion.

      The new realignment:

      Team 1
      ---------------------
      Intel, Apple

      Intel produces chips, Apple produces OSX and Macs for the consumer, and Intel Systems produces boring server boxes and desktops. Because it "owns" or has a "special deal" for OSX, it can undersell the Windows-based monopoly servers.

      And finally Intel can have good looking "sexy innovative demo hardware" which WORKS---i.e. a Mac---instead of that embarassing crap they've pushed before.

      Team 2: Sun, Dell, Microsoft, AMD

      Microsoft can't put too much favoritism towards AMD (like cutting out Intel support) because AMD can't supply anywhere near enough capacity. Sun and Microsoft are congential competitors too and despite the detente, they don't know how to work together, as Microsoft's impulse is 'crush'. Dell gets pissy as Intel starts competing against them, but again, AMD can't supply big enough volumes, so they're stuck too. And don't forget those low margins, so how much strategic power do they have?

      Centrifugal forces will push away all but Dell+Microsoft, slave and master.

      Team "L is for loser": HP/Compaq

      More expensive than Dell, no distinguishing features, innovation controlled by Microsoft

      Itanic's dead and Carly obliterated their geek cred--Agilent is gone and printers are boring. Linux is strangling HPUX and IBM has services locked up.

      Sun will probably end up here too but they may hang on a little longer.
  • by YahoKa (577942) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:51PM (#12774849)
    That was not a well thought out piece of writing.

    Question 1: What happened to the PowerPC's supposed performance advantage over Intel?
    Gap is breaking, and there are many other advantages of Intel/x86.

    Question 2: What happened to Apple's 64-bit operating system?
    Just because Intel's 64 bit is expensive now, doesn't mean it will be in a year.

    Question 3: Where the heck is AMD?
    Who knows if it will be supported, but AMD doesn't have the supply of chips to deal with Apple. Plus, Intel has better brand recognition and probably more muscle in negotiating a contract.

    Question 4: Why announce this chip swap a year before it will even begin for customers?
    For developers... ?

    Question 5: Is this all really about Digital Rights Management?
    Probably not.

    • by dreamer-of-rules (794070) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:41PM (#12775280)
      I like your answers.. except for Question 4.

      Cringly has a point. If the Mathmatica CEO can get called on Wednesday night the week before, asked to bring the source code to Apple, and turn around a native Intel program in two hours of changes, then your developers don't need a year advanced warning. Right?

      The downside is that several people I've been talking into making the switch are now holding off another year until the Intel macs come out. (I'm persuading them for selfish reasons -- I get less support calls from my friends)

      From a developers POV, isn't Panther->Tiger a bigger change? Except for getting the binaries available for customer systems when the system begin shipping?

      My guess, Steve Jobs will announce an Intel laptop this year. I'm holding off on replacing my laptop until the Intels come out, and so is my partner. Even if they come out next year.
      • If the Mathmatica CEO can get called on Wednesday night the week before, asked to bring the source code to Apple, and turn around a native Intel program in two hours of changes, then your developers don't need a year advanced warning. Right?

        Wrong.

        Developers who have built NEW applications on Mac OS X (possibly ported from Windows, but not ported from Mac OS 9) within the last five years are using Cocoa in XCode. They should be able to get something working in a few hours.

        Developers who have recently mi
    • by guidryp (702488) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:44PM (#12775306)
      >Question 1: What happened to the PowerPC's supposed performance advantage over Intel?

      Dissapearing as we speak and that is part of the reason for the move.

      >Question 2: What happened to Apple's 64-bit operating system?

      http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82 E16819116198 [newegg.com]
      intel Pentium 4 630 Prescott 800MHz FSB 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 EM64T
      $289 NOTE the EMT64T.

      The Chip in the dev platform is reportedly:
      Nntel Pentium 4 660 Prescott 800MHz FSB 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 EM64T
      Again note the EM64T

      >Question 3: Where the heck is AMD?
      To me this is the lamest question people ask. There are so many reason that it would be a much bigger surprise if it were AMD. Want some:

      0: Better deal, simpler engineering if you stick with one.
      1: Intel provides the whole platform from a single vendor. Massively simplifying engineering the new platform
      2: The myriad of reasons that Dell does the same. Most of them Dollars.
      3: Pentium-M Laptop platform.
      4: Truly massive Fab capacity, vs AMD history of production problems.

      >Question 4: Why announce this chip swap a year before it will even begin for customers?
      As said before Developers. Because there is no other way you can give ALL the developers a heads up and keep it a secret.

    • "Question 4: Why announce this chip swap a year before it will even begin for customers?
      For developers... ?"

      I can think of a few other possibilities:

      1. Parts issue. Either something is thought to be defective (liquid-cooling systems?), or the CPUs are in short supply. Steve solves the issue by making the announcement, and everyone holds off.

      2. Letting the shock wear off. All of the fanboys are buzzing right now over an announcement and demo. Objectivity would be hard to find if production units available
  • by PygmySurfer (442860) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:51PM (#12774853)
    Apple loved to pull Phil Schiller onstage to do side-by-side speed tests showing how much faster in real life the G4s and G5s were than their Pentium equivalents. Was that so much BS?

    Not really. But, how many things REALLY take such advantage of Altivec that its worth keeping it around?

    yet Intel's 64-bit chips -- Xeon and Itanium -- are high buck items aimed at servers, not iMacs.

    Someone wanna tell this guy about EM64T?

    Where the heck is AMD?

    Maybe Apple talked to AMD, and Intel offered a better deal. Maybe Apple wanted to ensure there'd be no supply problems (I'm sure Intel fabs a lot more CPUs than AMD does).

    Why announce this chip swap a year before it will even begin for customers?

    I wondered about this one too. Especially after Jobs showed how easy it is to port apps.

    Is this all really about Digital Rights Management?

    Gah! I sure as hell hope not!

    The vaunted Intel roadmap is nice, but no nicer than the AMD roadmap, and nothing that IBM couldn't have matched.

    Could have, but would they? I sincerely doubt it. IBM is more interested in all the CPUs they're going to put into the next generation gaming consoles. They'll sell far more CPUs, AND they won't even have to worry about making them faster.

    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.

    That'd be sweet.

    Remember, you read it here first.

    C'mon, Dvorak predicted this years ago. :)
  • by homb (82455) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:52PM (#12774860)
    While many of Cringely's comments may well be correct, I am very suspicious of the one regarding the Cell processor:

    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.

    The Cell processor is not at all geared towards desktop/laptop use for a couple of reasons:

    • It's currently very hard to program the Cell efficiently
    • The Cell is not a general purpose CPU, it works very badly with out-of-order execution. Comments around the web abound as to how badly the Cell performs in general purpose programming.

    So I think that the switch to Intel is at least partly technological, especially if you consider how critical the laptop market is for Apple, and how badly IBM screwed the pooch on that. Pentium M to the rescue!

  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by diamondsw (685967) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:53PM (#12774874)
    Maybe I'm just a little too accepting of conventional wisdom, but...

    Apple loved to pull Phil Schiller onstage to do side-by-side speed tests showing how much faster in real life the G4s and G5s were than their Pentium equivalents. Was that so much BS?


    Yes. This is Phil Schiller, Vice President of Marketing. Of course it's BS.

    So is Intel going to do a cheaper Itanium for Apple or is Apple going to pretend that 64-bit never existed? Yes to both is my guess, which explains why the word "Pentium" was hardly used in the Jobs presentation. Certainly, he never said WHICH Intel chip they'd be using


    See Ars [arstechnica.com].

    just mentioning an unnamed 3.6-Ghz development system -- a system which apparently doesn't benchmark very well, either (it's in the links)


    My God, a development prototype doesn't fare well in benchmarks run through a prototype emulator. Amazing, never would have guessed. Personally, I'll trust firsthand usage [accelerateyourmac.com].

    If Apple is willing to embrace the Intel architecture because of its performance and low power consumption, then why not go with AMD, which equals Intel's power specs, EXCEEDS Intel's performance specs AND does so at a lower price point across the board? Apple and AMD makes far more sense than Apple and Intel any day.


    Apple is looking at long-term, and has spent the last dozen years chasing great technology from (relatively) smaller players. They want a reliable source of great desktop and notebook chips. Meanwhile, although AMD has done an excellent job of the Athlon, the Pentium M has done extremely well in the laptop arena, and that's what the upcoming Intel desktop chips will be based on. See the Ars story above.

    So why would Steve Jobs --snip-- pre-announce this chip change that undercuts not only his present product line but most of the machines he'll be introducing in the next 12 to 18 months?


    Because he needs developers to be working on it - Rosetta is great but we need native apps. However, a lot of other people dismissed the rumor [daringfireball.net] on the same grounds.

    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.


    Apple is in this for the long haul, not a handful of years. IBM is certainly capable, but they clearly didn't have any focus there. This is Intel's ONLY focus.

    Complete and utter bullshit.
  • by Embedded Geek (532893) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:55PM (#12774903) Homepage
    I know you loathe the guy, but you have to give him this: at least he keeps score [pbs.org] on [pbs.org] his [pbs.org] predictions [pbs.org]. That's a Hell of a lot more than anyone else in the pundit biz does. If he's wrong on this one, you count on him publicly eating crow over it (eventually).

    Disclaimer: Personally, I have no idea on how much faith to put in this particular prediction, either. I just keep my money in the S&P 500 and don't loose any sleep over the specifics.

  • by Theovon (109752) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:58PM (#12774924)
    Before you know it, Microsoft and Intel will start to get (more) hostile towards each other, with the result being that Microsoft has to rely more on AMD.

    It's official. There is no longer any difference between 'good' and 'evil'. Just like how successful Democrats and Republicans are mostly just moderates with different names, good and evil have met in the middle in the tech industry.

    It's too painful. Apple (good) with Intel (bad) and so Microsoft (bad) with AMD (good). I can't take it anymore!
  • I Disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goo.cc (687626) * on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:00PM (#12774948)
    Intel has shown a willingness to support anyone on their CPUs. They even invested in Be and Red Hat.

    I think we need more proof than speculation.
  • by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:08PM (#12775014)
    Cringley is missing an important part of the puzzle.
    Apple cannot survive as a generic PC manufacturer unless it can beat everyone else on price, including Dell. Apple has only one lever to do this with.
    The relative cost of HW to SW is shrinking to the point where the MS tax is beginning to equal the price of HW. As HW becomes even cheaper, the cost of Windows will surpass that of the HW - probably within a year or two.
    Apple can bundle the OS at cost while Dell and friends are hobbled by the MS tax.
    This leads Apple into direct competition with Dell and friends and indirectly with MS.
    The question is if they can pull it off and if they do, for how long.
    • by PCM2 (4486)

      Apple cannot survive as a generic PC manufacturer unless it can beat everyone else on price, including Dell.

      Lucky for Apple, then, that it's not a generic PC manufacturer. It has always been a supplier of high-end, premium hardware and there's no reason to suspect that's going to change. I'm actually shocked that there doesn't seem to be anyone with Apple's business model in the Wintel space. The premium hardware vendors are companies like AlienWare, targeting gamers. Powerful hardware, perhaps, but ce

    • Here's my take (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dan Crash (22904) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:22PM (#12775623) Journal
      Moving to Intel was probably done for supply and roadmap reasons, but switching architectures gives Apple the opportunity to grow their market share through piracy, a phenomenon that has been exploited by Adobe and Microsoft in the past.

      Apple will only sell OSX with official Mac hardware at their traditional prices to their traditional customers, but I suspect a cracked version will emerge and will displace Windows for a significant number of under-the-table users.

      Over time, pirated software often earns back more than its cost. Users who pirate because they cannot afford to purchase eventually become professionals who do purchase, and users who pirate but never purchase help exclude competing products from getting a foothold. Pirated copies of OSX may also increase the market for Mac software in general, not only because there will be a larger installed base, but because more programmers will become familiar with OSX.

      Maybe I'm wrong, and Apple and Intel will work so closely together that no cracked version of OSX-for-Dells will be out there, but if there is, Apple will have set themselves up for a real contest with Microsoft. They won't have to officially support the wide variety of hardware that Microsoft does, but they'll be able to benefit from having their software on it.

      Still wrapping my mind around the switch, but in the long term, this could be a big deal.

  • by falcon5768 (629591) <[Falcon5768] [at] [comcast.net]> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:15PM (#12775075) Journal
    Its been announced that Cringely and Dvorak are merging today, ending weeks of speculation that they had gone so far over the edge that any statment made could be contributed to either statement maker
  • Crazy - Like a Fox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hirschma (187820) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:17PM (#12775092)
    If you throw out your conceptions of what a processor is, and what a personal computer is, this kind of makes sense.

    The old balance used to be: Intel made the processors, Microsoft made the OS, and neither the twain shall meet.

    Microsoft blurred the lines with Xbox. Xbox did or will do a lot of what people bought PCs for - games, media playback, etc. And this was fine when it contained Intel CPUs, but now it doesn't. Every Xbox 360 sold will mean that an HTPC or gaming PC may not be, and Intel is not amused.

    Microsoft is now promising backwards compatibility, too, with the new Xbox. So, in other words... they're shipping a processor. A software-based emulation type processor, but it is clear that they've developed x86 emulation as a part of their technology portfolio, and like most things MS, it'll get better with time.

    Intel also remembers the great ARC/ACE debacle, when Microsoft attempted to loosen Intel's vise on the industry by promoting a multi architecture vision. MS did this again with Windows CE - but Intel again prevailed (and their StrongArm has, well, strongarmed itself to dominance in the small device space).

    So: why can't MS push another multi-architecture vision? Why not non-x86 Windows boxes? Why not break the x86 oligarchy? Don't they want the hardware to be close to free of cost, with the user only paying for the software? Kind of like the Xbox? This is clearly only possible with freeing Windows from x86. And like the Xbox 360, they probably have a vision of new classes of devices that would greatly benefit from other architectures.

    So: would it be so unthinkable that Intel pushes back? After all, under the traditional Intel/MS detente, they could simply say: we're not making PCs, we didn't buy a PC company - these are Macs. Moreover, Intel has been trying like crazy to get into the consumer electronics space for many years. What better way than with the Apple brand? Where all the PCs use x86 (or even Itanium), and all the iPod/Consumer electronic stuff has Intel ARM cpus. Hmm.

    This could make a lot of sense.

    jh
  • by javaxman (705658) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:29PM (#12775184) Journal
    Question 1: What happened to the PowerPC's supposed performance advantage over Intel?

    Still there. Notice Steve didn't say much about current performance. Sure, a lot of it had to do with marketing hype, and some of it had to do with Altivec. The PowerPC PowerMac marketing will not go away until there is a replacement Intel machine. Check Apple's website if you doubt that.

    Folks who've bothered to pay attention know that the move to Intel is all about low-power ( i.e. laptop ) chips; that's why Steve talked about processing power per watt.

    Question 2: What happened to Apple's 64-bit operating system?

    Well, it's only 64-bit on the PowerMac G5, and I'm willing to believe that when the PowerMac line is updated to Intel processors, there will be some 64-bit machine in that lineup. That, or there will remain G5s or who knows? Maybe an AMD chip? The fact is, though, few people really care about 64-bit on the desktop. Sadly.

    Question 3: Where the heck is AMD?

    Sssh! ( see answer to previous question ). Ixnay on the DAM-ay !

    Question 4: Why announce this chip swap a year before it will even begin for customers?

    That's the dumbest question yet. Who was the announcement made to? DEVELOPERS. Who needs to be doing stuff and using their development boxes so programs are available to run on the new machines when they're available? Why would Cringely ask such a stupid question ? Steve doesn't want a product launch without apps to match. Sure, Apple will lose some sales in the mean time- but mostly on the low end, and not many. If you want OS X, getting a Macintosh is still the only way to do it. Kids going back to school this fall will still buy Powerbooks and iBooks, because the only other choice is Windows. Science geeks and other power users hot for 64-bit and Altivec are may snap up dual-core PowerMacs that are likely to be introduced before the Intel switch in that lineup. Legacy users addicted to Classic are going to snap up PowerPC machines even while Intel machines are available. They'll take a hit, but they've got the cash, and they'll still make some sales. It's not Osborne Computer by any stretch.

    Besides, Intel machines are available. Just to developers. And they have to return them. But the fact remains, if you're totally hot to get yourself a developer kit, plunk down $500 bucks for a Premier ADC membership, order the $999 "kit", and you're good to go- MacIntel yours to use for the next year and a half or so.

    Question 5: Is this all really about Digital Rights Management?

    Cringely actually gets this one right. It's obvious, when you think about it, though. Apple plans on supporting current G5 machines for a good, long time. Let's say another 4 years at a _bare_ minimum. I'm certain it'll be much longer, but let's say 4 years. Will those G5s get no DRM while the Macintels get DRM? Next question.

    Oh, wait, it's all about "Why is Apple _really_ switching to Intel?" isn't it? Why not believe Steve Jobs? It's about processing power per watt, it's about the current state of Apple's laptop lineup. Let's not play stupid. Apple's moving to Intel because people are buying more laptops than desktops and IBM is not making powerful laptop PowerPC-based chips. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Apple, looking to compete with Microsoft?!? Please. They'll go to great lengths to avoid doing so where they can. Microsoft for the most part chooses to compete with Apple ( say, on music downloads and portable players ), not the other way around. From where I sit, it looks like Apple is doing their best to provide Microsoft with even more chances to sell copies of their OS and application stack on Apple hardware, without having their OS compete with Microsoft in the same way.

    What's the incentive for Intel and Apple to join together? They both have more, better options as partners, and they're going to stay that way.

  • by justforaday (560408) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:34PM (#12775234)
    If this is true will the resulting company be called iNtel?
  • by TwistedSpring (594284) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:04PM (#12775492) Homepage
    Alright, I just posted a comment where I said that I wasn't going to bash Cringely this time. Well, I just read the article and he's demonstrated his ignorance and lack of cognitive ability again. Here are the answers to his questions.

    1. What happened to the PowerPC's supposed performance advantage over Intel?
      Absolutely nothing. The article [anandtech.com] he refers to in Question 2 answers his question here. The introduction of the PPC 970MP with a 90/65nm fab process would allow the G5 CPU to hit 3.5 GHz and use less power too. This wasn't bullshit. The G5 was clearly faster for raw calculating power (agreed, the linked article shows some dire results for MySQL and so on, but this is more likely down to how the OS handles threading, or how MySQL was compiled).
    2. What happened to Apple's 64-bit operating system?
      Nothing. I assume that the new Apples will not use Xeons or Itaniums, but Intel's next desktop chip (Pentium D?) with AMD64/EM64T 64-bit extensions.
    3. Where the heck is AMD?
      AMD's fab plants are running to maximum capacity, as are IBM's (all next gen consoles are using IBM's chips). They are not the sensible choice. Intel has the capacity and the know-how. Apple are also free to switch to AMD if Intel turns out to suck, although this will cause another uproar.
    4. Why announce this chip swap a year before it will even begin for customers?
      To prepare corporate customers and their user base for the switch. To give developers time to port software to the new architecture so that it will be ready on release of the new system. Cringely's answer to this question is stolen from The Register [theregister.co.uk], and it is unlikely that Apple will suffer greatly from this. They have other products such as their iPod and iTunes services to support themselves. Sure, sales will fall, but it's my prediction that AAPL will fall and then pick up as market analysts predict a rise in Apple sales in the next few months due to a new product release (Intel Macs). The Osborne Effect doesn't really hold water, Apple already have a development system available, and have already ported their OS. They have been planning this for five years. They do have a product to deliver, and they are very, very good at hype.
    5. Is this all really about Digital Rights Management?
      He's right on this one. No.
    He then bangs on about Microsoft for a bit, as if Apple would ever be a threat to Microsoft, who have a whole new OS on the cards and have been running on these fabled Intel processor things for decades. I'll tell you the real reason: IBM have given Apple the cold shoulder. Look at it this way: Apple represents so little business for IBM that it doesn't make sense to keep developing new chips for them. IBM have their work cut out with the next gen consoles, and Apple is a teeny tiny spec compared to the massive quantity of chips IBM will have to produce to meet demand for these consoles.

    AMD aren't that interesting to Apple, they're already at maximum capacity as I mentioned, and they're quite happy producing chips for PCs. They also don't have the marketing clout of Intel and they're less well known. Apple chose Intel because they've been dumped by IBM, and Intel are more than happy to help Apple out because it secures them some more market penetration, which they need because they've made a considerable amount of blunders recently. Both are helping eachother out. It's simple symbiosis. If they didn't, their futures are unpredictable.

    Intel could still have bought Apple as Cringely states, but I deem this to be highly unlikely. Intel is not in a good position to make acquisitions like this, and value their PC market a lot too.
    • I agree with your opinion on the Apple / IBM fallout.

      That said, I don't think Apple picked Intel based on AMD's capacity. I'm convinced its about Centrino. AMD might be rocking the desktop world, but the Turion's power consumption is too high and I suspect that Apple is rightfully suspecting that x64 will show up on the Pentium Ms before AMD can come up with a power-efficient end-to-end solution like Centrino. AMD just doesn't have the cash or partnerships to stay in the lead in desktops and laptops.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:29PM (#12775686) Homepage
    Apple hasn't had to worry about antitrust issues in the computer area because their market share is so tiny. (Apple is having antitrust problems over the iPod/iTunes link, but that's a different market.) Intel has enough market power that if they try a technical lockout of competitors, they're likely to have antitrust problems.

    If someone builds a machine with an AMD processor and some custom support chips to run Apple software, neither Intel nor Apple will be in a strong position to stop them legally. Especially since the Lexmark vs. SCC decision that "lock out codes" are not copyrightable.

    This issue has already been decided in the game console area, in the Connectix case. Connectix sold a VM that ran Playstation I games on a PC, and won against Sony on that issue. Nobody builds game console clones because they're sold at a loss, not because it can't be done.

    We'll probably see low-end machines from China that boot Windows, Linux, or MacOS as requested. In the end, this will boost Apple's market share.

  • by ngdbsdmn (658135) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:30PM (#12775704)
    Intel is a very very oportunistic company where the sole driving force is to make as much profit as possible. This may not be a bad thing in theory but in practice it's ugly as shit to se this kind of monster, a souless zombie. Now, because they are in bed with Apple it means that Intel wants something. We have Steve on a big scene being a good father for all the Apple kids but it should be very clear that this thing is happening because Intel wants to. What does it want? More money. How? They need some soul and Apple has plenty. Intel hopes to push some blood in it's cheeks with Apple, especially now when it's image is very bad compared to AMD in the all-profitable high-end arena so they want to ensure the masses and the masses are marketing frags.
    The sad thing here is the fact that the more Intel succedes with this move, the more we'll see Microsoft being pushed towards AMD and we all hate Microsoft and love AMD and we want it to remain like that. The good thing could be that if Intel makes 25% - 30% room in the desktop OS garden for a second choice from Apple this will mean that between Apple and Microsoft there will be an 20% gap, easy fillable by a third choice: Linux. This could be very very good, but I spy a big surprise from Microsoft with it's .NET Framework running on both Linux and Os X.
    The good times are coming.
  • by famazza (398147) <fabio...mazzarino@@@gmail...com> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:31PM (#12775716) Homepage Journal

    And my nose is merging with my dick!

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:43PM (#12775800)
    1: Intel hates Microsoft because after MS made a 64-bit Windows for Itantium, then made a second 64-bit Windows for AMD64, Intel wanted another 64-bit Windows for their own incompatible x86-64 extensions that would have marginlized out AMD completely. Microsoft said no. Told Intel, you got a 64-bit Windows, AMD got a 64-bit Windows, and anything else you build had better be compatible with one of those two ISA's.

    2: A year from now Intel will have boatloads of VT (Virtualization Technology nee Vanderpool) enabled chips available. So unless there's an SSE4 instruction set hiding somewhere, expect Apple to make use of this feature which, coincidentally will prevent OSX from running on all the old Pentium 4's out there, as well as AMD chips since Pacifica does the same things, but with different instructions.

  • by asscroft (610290) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:35PM (#12776189)
    On the heels of the Apple/Intel merger Microsoft and AMD have announced a merger of their own. ....remember, you heard it here first.

    Wow, anyone can do this!
  • by JensR (12975) on Friday June 10, 2005 @02:08AM (#12777836) Homepage
    Wasn't the whole point with PowerPC that it is better bang per [buck|watt]? And isn't AMD more efficient at lower clock speeds?
    I mean, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo choose PowerPC as the core for their next console. They are in a market where every extra penny hurts. So why didn't they, especially Microsoft, not go with x86 for their next console?
    I'm not sure if they're going to merge, but some kind of big deal is going between Intel and Apple.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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