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Apple Businesses

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:39PM (#13083742)
    It figures slashdot would post anything than comes back to some half-baked Microsoft conspiracy. On the other hand, you can also read this ars technica article [arstechnica.com] that is well-founded, and much more reasonable than this claptrap.

    Of course, if slashdot posted somehting more reasonable, it would hurt their ad revenues and click-thrus as it would generate the flamewars and trolling than the typical slashdot articles nowadays.

  • Re:Trusted computing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:41PM (#13083755) Journal
    So, oh wise AC. Why does Apple sue folks who port iTunes over to Pocket PC?
  • by overshoot (39700) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:48PM (#13083783)
    IBM is also a member of the TCG. Getting a nub from IBM would be a whole lot less work than switching CPU architectures. Sheesh, Apple could do their own nub if it comes to that; they do their own system chips all the time.
  • F) All of the Above (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Marillion (33728) <ericbardesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:59PM (#13083834)
    It seems a lot of really bright people have come up with "The Reason" Apple switched. It's as if there is only one reason.

    I'm sure I've missed one, but we've heard, A) Faster CPUs, B) Less power consumption, C) Cheaper CPUs (preferred vendor prices), D) Cheaper iPod CPUs (XScale is an Intel), E) Trusted Computing Platform.

    I think Apple weighed several factors before switching. In short, F) All of the Above.

  • Ok, that's almost completely off-topic, but not looking for bad karma, I find strange that /. eds haven't published anything about Apple's financial release last week: best quarter *ever*.

    Apple has announced their Q3 2005 Financial Results today:
    Apple said net income for its third fiscal quarter ended June 25 rose to $320 million, or 37 cents per share, from $61 million, or 8 cents a share, a year ago, on a split-adjusted basis.

    Revenue rose 75 percent to $3.52 billion from $2.01 billion.

    Highlights
    - 1.182 Million Macs shipped for quarter (35% growth)
    - 687,00 desktops; 495,000 portables shipped
    - 6.155 million iPods shipped for quarter (616% growth)
    - iTunes Music Store market share 80% according to Neilsen
    - Tiger revenue $100 million in quarter; installed base of Mac OS X is close to 16 million
    - Still planning on Intel based Macs to be available at this time next year.
    - Apple noticed no significant drop in Mac sales following the Intel announcement, but only have a few weeks of data. Still are being cautious about 4th Quarter predictions/results. (maybe I'm not that much off-topic ;-)
    - Question asked if Apple has considered advertising the Mac further especially surrounding the iPod "halo" effect, but no real answer was given.
    - Question about Apple's thoughts on subscription vs purchased music model. Apple still feels that users was to purchase songs, not rent them and feels the 80% market share reflects this.

    Apple also release updates to iPhoto and iSync.

    Mod me off-topic if you want. It *is* off-topic. But the financial results are worth the read... well, to me at least! ;-)

  • by MrLint (519792) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:18PM (#13083906) Journal
    This is the 3rd major article I have seen about apple 'could' use the DRM for something or another.

    If the only goal was to go and keep OSX from running on beige x86 boxes they would have kept using open firmware instead of switching to BIOS. (which I still think OF was a better choice).

    And clearly Apple doesn't do the bidding of the RIAA, otherwise iTMS would have crippling DRM. Which it doesnt.

    I really wish these talking heads would meet the guillotine. Their speculation doesn't fit.

    The only speculation i have seen that makes sense is to get a volume discount on doodads for all the products from ipods up.

    My personal suspicion is that there may be some connection between apple, who tends to be on the innovation vanguard, and a number of Intel's 'gee whiz' doohickeys. Apple is exactly the kind of company that would grab a new technology and try to use it quickly, whereas intel has to go and try and shop around the stuff to slow moving wintel vendors. For instance, Apple came out with the mac mini, Intel slapped together a x86 look-alike, but it made no waves and the wintel vendors mainly ignored it. I think there is a hot steamy semiconductor romance brewing here.
  • Re:Risky Business (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BitGeek (19506) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:20PM (#13083917) Homepage
    The reason for the conspiracy theories is that your assertion about G5s being slow is just false.

    But I think the truth is obvious and was given to us by Apple: The ROADMAP for intel is superior for thier needs, possibly including DRM or other features.

    People look at IBMs recent announcements of processors and assume Apple was making a decision about the next 10 months, not the next 10 years.

    Even with IBM releasing chips significantly faster than intel, what the next 10 years holds is more important for the mac platform.
  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:24PM (#13083935)
    ...is that this is supposed to be for Longhorn. Longhorn is (roughly) a year a way. Significant market penetration of Longhorn is YEARS away (look at how many people are still using Win2k today 3 years later).
    You think there's going to be such a thing as a TC-only network in any immediate future? No way; I'd guess 2010 at the earliest.

    It's all about $$$.
  • wrong in the axioms (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mstone (8523) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:31PM (#13083970)
    People love to analyze big changes like this after they happen, but the analyses are almost always wrong. The problem is that the explanations carry an underlying assumption that only evolutionary changes make any sense.

    Is there any real reason to assume that Steve Jobs, with his history of making big and frequently unpopular decisions, would refuse to call a switch like this just because he was unhappy with the price/performance numbers IBM was quoting him? Not really. Is there any reason to assume that his decision to call the switch took place in a vacuum? Not really.

    One difference between leaders and followers is the willingness to make big changes on small justification. The people capable of thinking farthest outside the standard comfort zone are the ones who see the interesting possibilities first. You can build a retroactive chain of continuity after the fact, but those 'reasons' are *not* the reasons for taking the leap. They're merely reasons the person in charge (in this case Jobs) didn't reject that particular leap out of hand.

    FOSS is doing the same thing to the entire software business model. People in the industry who Just Don't Get It (*cough*DarlMcBride*cough*) talk about how FOSS needs to be made 'acceptable to business' if it wants to 'succeed', because they can't think far enough out of their comfort zone to see how 'giving stuff away' works better for everyone.

    One hallmark of genius is the ability to bridge the gap between "nobody ever thought of that before" and "totally obvious to anyone who sees it." I don't think this particular change rates as high as 'genius', but there's a similar gap between "unthinkable" and "justifiable after the fact".

  • Re:Trusted computing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by King_TJ (85913) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:38PM (#13084000) Journal
    Any time you build a product that's popular enough with a niche market, you get a certain group of fanatics who try to describe the business as something greater than what is really is.

    Those folks aside though, I think Apple is focused more on becoming a "media company" than a "computer company" these days. That's the biggest difference between the Apple of today, and the Apple of the 80's.

    After all, when your C.E.O. also happens to run a major motion picture studio, and when your "flagship software applications" include such things as Final Cut Pro, Motion, DVD Studio Pro and Shake - you have to think this is a company with a primary goal of being a big player in media production and editing.

    Computers go hand-in-hand with all of that, of course, but success in offering the "whole package" includes such concepts as retaining control and big market-share of your music downloads and playback mechanisms, tools to ensure your products "play nicely" with copyright restrictions on the use of commercial media, and so on.

    I don't say any of this as an "excuse" for Apple's behavior. Rather, it's just important to understand that they *are* looking at things differently than they used to. And not doing so would leave them in a much more place, financially speaking - since they'd be in the exact same marketspace as the rest of the PC clone builders (HP, IBM, Dell, Sony, etc. etc.).
  • by Dan Berlin (682091) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:42PM (#13084015)
    Apple doesn't get preferred vendor pricing. They don't come anywhere near the volume necessary
  • by SiliconEntity (448450) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:50PM (#13084043)
    Although Trusted Network Connect (TNC) is being created under the auspices of the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), formerly TCPA, TNC is really not "trusted computing" as it is known and hated [cam.ac.uk] on the net.

    Trusted Computing is a technology where user computers can be configured to report what programs the user is running in an unspoofable way, and to keep the user from being able to hack on various programs and data that he has downloaded. Many people object to this because of the need to give up control over their own computers in exchange for being allowed to download certain data. It has many uses for DRM.

    I don't think TNC has these properties. It is a way of authenticating on a network. Yes, it can use the same TPM chip that is used in the regular TCG specification, but the protocol is not nearly as all-encompassing and doesn't have those features that are so objectionable, limiting what people can do on their computers.

    So the whole conspiracy-theory angle loses one of its key selling points, namely that this is all tied into DRM and restrictions on user actions. TNC is completely different and there is no tie in to the kinds of things that conspiracy theory fans are interested in.
  • Re:Trusted computing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Paradise Pete (33184) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @08:01PM (#13084094) Journal
    Maybe. But to me, it smells more like "you must use our hardware so we make more profit"

    While no doubt Apple doesn't mind making more money, they almost certainly have to be in a position where they have to live up to a lot of promises. Jobs was able to persuade the recording companies to do something no one else was able to. Part of that persuasion had to have included promises and demonstrations that Apple could "prevent" widespread distribution of purchased song files.

    And the next big step Apple would like to take is to convince them to lower prices. They can't do that if the recording companies don't see Apple living up to its promises, and demonstrating that they are in control.

  • Re:Compare (Score:2, Interesting)

    by am 2k (217885) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @08:06PM (#13084117) Homepage

    My guess is that their plan wasn't to switch to Intel specifically, but when you keep you code working on ppc and x86, you can get it to run on just about anything (since there's no byte ordering issue, and no platform-dependent code like something depending on a specific Altivec behavior).

  • Re:Trusted computing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fitten (521191) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @08:27PM (#13084197)
    Yeah, but those power figures aren't for max load. Also, the Pentium-M parts they are comparing those G5 parts to are significantly faster on most things. Also, given the timeline of the Apple conversion, Yonah will be ready for mass production which is dual core Pentium-M at the same (27W) power usage and at the same clock speeds as today (2.13GHz). The low power G5 is a day late and a dollar short for Apple's desires.
  • by jonwil (467024) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @10:17PM (#13084623)
    Someone with access to an OSX Intel DEV box actually posted patches to the WINE lists which appear to be "make WINE work on OSX intel" patches.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 17, 2005 @03:31AM (#13085537)
    In the short term, everyone wins. Users ecstatic, they can dual-boot OSX and Windows, woohoo! But development shops at some point are going to ask why port apps, or continue to develop for OSX, when Mac users can run the apps native under Windows anyway? This has to reduce potential revenue for OSX-specific software, and therefore OSX will be diluted by hardware compatibility with Windows in the long term.
  • by Eukariote (881204) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:13AM (#13086420)

    Something sure does not add up, so here is my guess as to what is going on.

    Apple is making most of its money with IPods. But those run the risk of eventually loosing out to converged devices, specifically mobile phones that also play music. So, Apple would be wise to react by selling mobile phones that are ITunes ready.

    But they lack the technology. Intel has it, but has not been able to sell their phone chips. In part because of bad execution: big company ills. In part because people are weary of a monopolist. So Intel is in need of a good and loyal brand to push their mobile tech.

    It is therefore likely that the computing deal is only stage one in a wider-ranging cooperation where Intel provides the technology and the money, and Apple the design and the cool.

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @01:37PM (#13087329) Journal
    There's truth in what you're saying (especially in the case of Sony, IMHO), but I still think Apple is focusing more on media from a slightly different angle than the others.

    Basically, Apple is courting the artists who create the media. They already had a foot in that door since the early days, when graphics artists and creative types started comprising a large part of Mac sales. But now they're leveraging those connections in new ways.

    Dell may be selling televisions in their catalogs now, but that doesn't make them a "shoe in" as the choice of those needing to edit film footage for a new movie production. That's just a reflection of Dell's attitude that "computers are just more pieces of commodity electronics goods that consumers buy". Dell is all about finding out what's desireable to the masses and using their buying power and connections/clout to start offering those items at prices lower than anyone has seen before. (EG. They now have the world's cheapest 24" LCD flat panel monitor, and one of the cheapest laser printers ever offered.)

    The fact is, other than some cheesy front-end overlays to the Windows desktop and customized toolbars, Gateway, HP/Compaq, Dell, Toshiba, and the rest of the lot aren't really selling any noteworthy applications software focused on content production and editing. Apple sells quite a bit of it, and it's generally considered "top tier" in the industry.

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