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Another Theory on Apple's Move To Intel 316

Posted by Zonk
from the got-to-love-theories dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Why did Apple really switch to Intel? Larry Loeb thinks that it has everything to do with the Trusted Computing Group's TNC (Trusted Network Connect)." From the article: "The Trusted Computer Group is a multivendor association that grew out of Microsoft's pre-emptive Trusted Computing Platform effort. Microsoft realized it couldn't force this down the manufacturers' throats, so it formed the TCG to give it the veneer of respectability and 'open standards.'"
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Another Theory on Apple's Move To Intel

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  • Trusted computing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:30PM (#13083702) Journal
    Mod this flamebait if you like, but Apple isn't the paragon of virtue that many in the Slashdot community have made it out to be. DRM in iTunes. Okay. I get that one. They are out to portect the musicians and groups that make it possible to have iTunes in the first place.

    But then explain to me why Apple has been so against 3rd party extenders to iTunes. For example, try to get your Pocket PC with iTunes. Until recently, you haven't been able to. Why? Companies that provide the apps get sued by Apple. How does this fit the "protect the musicians" model? It doesn't.

    Suing folks who scoop them on news. Embracing trusted computing (misnomer if I ever heard of one). Sorry folks, this ain't the apple of the 80's.
  • Nice theory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by utlemming (654269) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:32PM (#13083709) Homepage
    but wouldn't anti-trust get involved real quick? If the Intel Silcon is exclusive for the TNC protocols, I can guarentee that a competing scheme will come up or the government will force it out to other people. And if it is on the Intel CPU, then AMD is really going to scream. So while it is a nice theory, I think that have a protocol which identifies the computer via a chip and then forces it to use the TNC scheme is doomed to failure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:39PM (#13083748)
    It was all about laptops. Just before the merger was announced, a study was released showing that something like 40% of new PC purchases were laptops, rather than desktops. For Apple, the ratio is probably even more heavily-skewed in favor of portables.

    Laptop CPUs were one key area where IBM just could not seem to get their act together. When it came to mobile G5 CPUs, Jobs probably just got tired of hearing one empty promise after another from IBM. You can't blame him.

    I doubt the conspiracy goes any deeper than that. Laptops == the only PCs that still have any meaningful profit margins. Any computer vendor that wants to prosper has to have its laptop act together, and IBM was holding Apple back big-time.
  • You serious??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lurch_mojoff (867210) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:41PM (#13083753)
    What's wrong with you people? Enough with all this conspiracy theories. Does this dude really expect us to believe that Apple got into all this trouble of switching CPU architectures because of some not-really-ready not-really-standard? He himself says:
    Microsoft realized it couldn't force this down the manufacturers' throats, so it formed the TCG to give it the veneer of respectability and "open standards."
    My dictionary sais that "open standard" is by definition platform independant!

    Seriously, every reason beyond simple economics is complete nonsence. Apple switches to Intel x86 because thus they will get very, very cheap CPUs, which are just as fast as everybody else's, without investing huge sums in R&D, and geting nice chipsets as a bonus. That's it, period!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:42PM (#13083759)
    I've got a better theory, it's quite simple

    G5s are fine
    G5s cannot go into laptops
    Laptops use G4
    G4 delevopment stalled
    Laptops account for MORE THAN HALF of apple computer sales.
    going intel takes the risk out of competition with wintel, as they will never be greatly faster or slower.

    so stop it with the conspiracy theories ok, it's pretty simple reason to change when more than half of your product line is stalled. Do you see a mobile G5 in thinkpads? Do you see motorola improving the clock on the G4?

    STFU you troll journalists who make up these STUPID stories to get slashdot-driven ad revenue.

    Next up "Linux performance sucked, so steve jobs engineered the intel switch with the help of darl mcbride, a beowulf cluster of the new PCs will be used to render the newst Lucas movie in the star wars series in which Jar jar binks returns!!!1" or maybe a dupe.
  • Right... so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:44PM (#13083766) Homepage
    Apple switched processor architectures, an incredibly expensive and complicated multi-year undertaking... so that they could jump on to an unproven MICROSOFT technology, a technology that Microsoft isn't even using yet, a technology which consumers so far are reacting EXTREMELY badly to, and a technology that is based around a "Trusted Computing Group" that Apple isn't even part of?

    Oh, and furthermore-- Apple did this by way of a cunning plan which keeps their developers totally in the dark about their Palladium plans, even after developers begin using receiving their developer transition kits? Great plan, that. Implement a major hardware change, go to great effort to get prototype hardware in the hands of developers so they can port their apps BEFORE the hardware change hits consumers, then suddenly spring "Hey guys, guess what? Here's ANOTHER major hardware change [Palladium] that your programs may or may not need to take advantage/caution of!" on the developers at the last minute.

    Even if any of this made sense, why would Apple need to switch instruction sets? AMD is part of the Trusted Computing Group, and Apple's been using AMD technology (HyperTransport) since the G5. I see no reason treacherous computing and the PPC would be inherently incompatible.

    I hate "analysts".
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:44PM (#13083767)
    Just my $/50 but, if it's a true Open Standard, Apple should have had to go to Intel to get it. If it's a true and valuable Open Standard then other manufacturer's would also provide methods of implementing it.
  • by Zevets (728720) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:45PM (#13083769) Journal
    His argument is somewhat logical, except when Cringely starts talking about the retinal scan viewer for the movie iPods. That is lunacy, as is his comparison to Apple's Cinema Displays.

    LCD displays were proven technology before Apple picked it up, but as far as I know, these "retinal scan" things exist only in tech demos and have never been mass produced(and apple has to do that succesfully with good yields, which is even harder).
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LKM (227954) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:04PM (#13083858) Homepage
    For example, try to get your Pocket PC with iTunes. Until recently, you haven't been able to.

    Do you realize that your whole point is based on this nonsensical sentence? What do you mean by "try to get your Pocket PC with iTunes"? Are you castigating Apple for not releasing iTunes for Pocket PCs? Or is your problem that you can't buy a Pocket PC with iTunes preinstalled? Or were you not able to sync iTunes with your Pocket PC? Or what? And who exactly got sued by Apple? I don't know of any Pocket PC software developers who got sued by Apple.

  • Re:Risky Business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:10PM (#13083883)
    here's the funny thing with apple's switch to intel.

    1. G5s are slow. really slow. OK, not in an absolute sense but there are very few areas where they excel in speed over x86 chips. PPC vs x86 ISA design notwithstanding, the actual speed of the real products at any one moment in time reveals the intels to be quicker.

    2. Apple want quicker machines.

    So what's with all the conspiracy theories? It's like a guy going out to pick up, and chasing the red-hot sexy young thing instead of the fat 35 year old in the corner who doesn't wash, and having all his friends go "whoa. wonder why he's going for the hot one?"
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:15PM (#13083897) Homepage Journal
    The reason that 3rd party plugs aren't allowed in iTunes is because they would be used to circumvent the measures that Apple has taken to apease the labels, and I think we can all agree that if they were allowed, that's exactly what most of them would do.

    I agree. One of the problems with these conspiracy theories is that they ignore the realities of give and take in a competitive environment. Apple had to get in bed with the RIAA in order to get the ball rolling with the iTunes store, which was a critical component of their iPod strategy. Apple seems to have figured that there's money to be made in a legal download market that doesn't include draconian DRM.

    Apple may or may not like the RIAA, but that's beside the point. Their goal is to grow the digital music market and take a slice of that growing market. The only way for them to do that was to come up with a compromise solution, and they only way to protect that compromise is to keep iTunes from becoming a Trojan Horse for pirating.

    You can look at Apple's use of DRM as the first step on the road to further restrictions on fair use rights, or you can look at it as the first step toward getting the RIAA to see that there's middle ground between totally unlimited sharing and no sharing at all.

  • by goMac2500 (741295) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:22PM (#13083922)
    I think Apple has a problem with programs taking AAC files that are Fairplay enabled, breaking the DRM on them, and moving them to PocketPC. The software you are linking to was never taken down by Apple.
  • Switching to a chip that makes buffer overflow attacks easier because it's got a dense instruction set that lets you avoid string-truncating NULLs? To fight malware?

    I don't think so.
  • by Basehart (633304) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:42PM (#13084014)
    "Apple is a business and it's trying desperating to hold on to it's trendiness as iPod fever dies off."

    Pet Rocks, wearing pants around your knees and sticking safety pins through your nose are trends, not the iPod.

    It's too functional to be trendy, and it's evolving too fast to simply fade away any time soon.
  • by Matthias Wiesmann (221411) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @08:13PM (#13084139) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure, basically the role of the firmware on currents macs is to figure out the general settings of the machine, find a kernel on some device and start it. So long that your hardware is not used in this phase, the drivers don't need to know about the firmware. So this is mainly an issue for network cards (for network booting) and I/O cards like USB, Firewire, or ATA (again only for booting purposes) that cannot be handled using the generic drivers. Ok maybe also display adaptors that can't go to a default mode.

    The first mac-tels will probably be laptops. So the lack of drivers will mostly be an issue for the case of booting using a hard drive attached to a Cardbus adapter that cannot be handled via generic drivers. While this is an issue, but I think it is clearly not a show-stopper.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 16, 2005 @08:47PM (#13084282)

    iTunes DRM is draconian

    Draconian: Exceedingly harsh; very severe.

    Given that most users don't hit the limits of Apple's DRM often and that it is lenient compared with competitors, on what basis are you calling iTunes DRM "exceedingly harsh and very severe"? It's not nice, and I think it's wrong, but it's not draconian.

  • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @09:04PM (#13084350) Journal
    Oh lord, where to begin...

    "Jobs knows the only growth area for Apple is DRM laden media devices. He'd love to jettison the whole OS X/Mac hardware stuff today if he could get away with it."

    Now you see, you just don't get it.

    Apple is about providing the "complete widget." With the digital-hub concept, that means Macintoshes. The whole "Apple wants to become a consumer electronics company" thing is totally ridiculous. What Apple wants you to do is buy Macintoshes, iPods, and Airports. Apple will link them all together with software so that the sum is greater than the parts.

    What makes me laugh is when Apple releases one piece of the puzzle and everyone decides that is Apple's new aim--they're dropping the Mac and going after such-and-such. Again, the Mac continues to be an important part of Apple because it is the platform that they can control.

    "The first full quarter of Mac sales after the WWDC announcement of being forced to turn to Intel is going to be ugly, real ugly. Only an idiot would wasted money on obsolete hardware."

    Welcome to the exciting world of FUD!

    Well, supposedly Intel is coming out with a whole bunch of really rockin' CPUs. Does this mean that no-one is going to buy an Intel-based PC because it will obviously be obsolete? Do you really expect to get decent performance out of Longhorn on your 3.6 GHz Pentium IV? Only an idiot to buy any kind of Intel-based PC in the next year or so!

    And yet, people are doing so.

    (Oh, and to you AMD fans, why would you buy an AMD machine when Intel's CPUs are going to be so much better? You'd have to be an idiot to buy an AMD-based PC because when Intel comes out with their stuff, your machine will be obsolete.)

    So there's some FUD back-atcha. See how it works?

    Now, to refute the FUD. First, those who need machines buy now. That's true even in the PC world. If you need a machine now, you buy it now. "Oh, I'm not going to buy my kid that iBook for college because Apple will have new iBooks in January which use Intel CPUs." I don't hear that one very often.

    And, actually, I've met a few people who want to buy now! They want to get the best PowerPC machine before Apple switches them to Intel and Macs end up sucking like PCs do. (These are people who do lots of floating-point calculations)

    Second, some of those people will wait and Apple may see a drop in sales. Fair enough. But, from a corporate standpoint, Apple has $7.5 Billion dollars sitting in the bank. I think they'll be able to hold on for a year of declining sales if people decide to wait. And keep in mind that those people are waiting--once Apple does release an Intel-based machine, people will snap them up. And, with Intel providing the CPUs, Apple will finally have a supplier that can keep up with demand. Which means Apple will end up making that money back anyway.

    In short, only an idiot would believe the FUD you're trolling.
  • by thecombatwombat (571826) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @09:24PM (#13084414)
    Yeah, Slashdot would never post that.

    Sorry, but that article was here last week. [slashdot.org]
  • by SideshowBob (82333) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @09:37PM (#13084468)
    If Apple had wanted this they could've just paid whatever licensing fees are involved and implemented it in their next PPC chipset.

    So I really doubt this had anything to do with the switch to x86.
  • by Doctor_Jest (688315) * on Saturday July 16, 2005 @10:20PM (#13084630)
    EVERY computer company is becoming a "media" company instead of just selling PCs. They are just expanding their business beyond simply laptops and desktops. Selling computers alone these days is not necessarily a growth business.

    Ever get a Dell catalog in the mail? (I haven't bought one since 1997, and I still get catalogs.) Dell sells TELEVISIONS. No company can be pinned down today simply a "computer maker" anymore. Even though Dell isn't even in the same league as Apple, I use them as an example of how companies across the board are no longer only about the grey boxes.

    IBM farmed out their home computers. Sony has a computer division, but is much more of a "media company" than Apple will ever be. HP sells printers too. So the "clone" builders are more like your vision of Apple than even Apple. (Sony's got their own online music store too...)

    Apple never wanted to compete in the "clone" sector. They tried, and nearly went under. Nowadays, their computers aren't priced to the lowest common denominator Wal-Mart shoppers, but are made for a different audience. ("fanatics" you might say...)

    Apple's business is still computers, but it encompasses what a computer has become more than a transition AWAY from them. Don't kid yourself, EVERY commercial hardware vendor is going to make their equipment "play nice" wit the media companies. Not just Apple. It's the fault of bought politcians, judges, and everyone who continues to feed the fat fucking bastards known as "commercial media companies." The entire industrialized world has put a higher importance upon entertainment above everything else. Apple, Sony, IBM, Dell, HP, Gateway, Toshiba, etc. are just reflecting and perpetuating that idiotic notion.

  • Re:Risky Business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bnenning (58349) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @10:42PM (#13084710)
    The reason for the conspiracy theories is that your assertion about G5s being slow is just false.

    Yes and no. The G5 is competitive in desktop Macs. But for laptops, the Pentium-M slaughters the G4 today, and Intel's upcoming dual-core Yonah will do the same to the "low power" 1.6GHz 970FX. Because the market is moving towards portables that's a big problem for Apple, and moving to Intel solves it.
  • by Bulk Tape Eraser (868397) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @11:02PM (#13084772)
    Sorry folks, this ain't the apple of the 80's.

    Ummm, the Apple of the 80's was one of the most litigious computer companies in the business.

    All those Apple II clone companies didn't just up and go out of business on their own. And Apple was the bad guy in the Look-n-feel lawsuits. If they had won, there wouldn't be a non-Apple GUI in existence, save by their good graces.
  • Re:Risky Business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Golias (176380) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @11:15PM (#13084828)
    You hit the nail on the head. This is all about laptops.

    This is especially an issue with Apple, because they are, and have been for more than a decade, a computer company who relies on the notebook market.

    There are precious few people out there who chose Macs over desktop PC's, but an informal walk through your local "Free Wi-Fi" coffee shop reveals quite another story when it comes to laptop systems. Apple lives and dies by the PowerBook & iBook, and the way the G4/G5 roadmap was going, they would have died if they had not done something soon.

    (Disclaimer: Current iBook user. I don't give a fuck what CPU is inside as long as it's fast enough, it's cheap enough, the battery lasts long enough, and it runs OS X. If Intel gets it done better than IBM, then so be it.)
  • by shams42 (562402) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @11:53PM (#13084919)
    Do you see the iTunes model as "sharing?" Downloading, sure, but the model is clearly focused on a single provider. Maybe I misunderstood your last sentence, but it seemed a bit inaccurate.
  • by kongit (758125) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:09AM (#13084972)
    Sorry to be malcontent, but why should I care whether or not apple uses ibm or intel inside their computers. Will it effect the outcome of apple's computing might in the near future? Doubtful. Additionally the manner in which apple operates supposes that the end interface and integrity of their computers will change very little. Perhaps the only difference will be an ugly sticker on the case that says "Intel Inside". Perhaps apple will ritz that up also...
  • Oh, bloody please (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moraelin (679338) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @07:58AM (#13086073) Journal
    DRM isn't as much a conspirac theory as a fact of life, and regardless of whether that's the reason for the Intel migration, it _will_ happen.

    The fact is, being a monopoly is every CEO's wet dream. Pure idea capitalism, neo-classical theory style, is where no-name white boxes are now: a place where everyone and their grandma can start building their own and undercutting your prices. _That_ is what an ideal free market is. It's good for the consumer, but it's not where you want your company to be, if you have a choice.

    What you want is a locked-in customer base. A hi-tech-style captive market that you can milk and fleece to line your pockets. (Well, that is: what you'd want if you were an MBA instead of a nerd raised on ideals of honesty and of playing nice.)

    And historically, the _whole_ history of computing has been about that: whoever thought they owned a market segment, fought tooth-and-nail to keep you locked in, by any means necessary. Back in the stone age of computing, IBM went to court to try to stop the software market from even being born: they wanted to be the only ones you can buy software from for your IBM computer. And from there it went on to be a long sordid tale of FUD (again, it was by IBM, long before MS), connector patents, undisclosed APIs, discriminatory contracts, the Unix fragmentation (noone really wanted portability, if they could have you locked in instead), etc.

    And Apple isn't immune either. E.g., the iTunes DRM may be necessary for the RIAA to aggree, but being locked-in so only an iPod plays it, isn't. In fact, the RIAA openly dislikes that. It's all about Apple very much enjoying having a locked-in market.

    It's no conspiracy theory, it's no paranoia, it's just human nature. Imagine you're a CEO and there's this techological thingie which promises to give you complete control over what can run on that machine, and how much the user must pay to be allowed to run it. Or if you sell entertainment ormedia, you can control what the user can do with it, how often, etc. Make them pay _again_ as often as you wish, or make their whole collection unusable Napster-style if they dare cancel their subscription. (How's that for a lock-in?)

    It's the thing that screams "TEH BIG MONIES!!!!11" in your face.

    It's a wet dream. It's _the_ kind of wet dream where you don't just wake up to change your underwear, but rather you wake up sticky and have to change the mattress and blanket. _That_ kind of a wet dream.

    So make no mistake, it _will_ happen.
  • by chibimagic (157104) on Monday July 18, 2005 @01:01AM (#13090987)
    The latest stagnation of laptop sells is exactly why Apple is switching to Intel. Starting a year or two ago, laptops began outselling desktops at Apple and the rest of the computer industry as well. Steve Jobs made a big deal in a keynote about how laptops accounted for more than half of Apple sales, and it would be the "year of the laptop." But because Apple has been unable improve their laptop perform significantly in the past couple years, they're moving to Intel to remain competitive.

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