IBM Might Have Ditched Apple, Not Otherwise – Analyst.
IBM Might No Longer Wanted to Supply Apple with Chips
by Anton Shilov
[ 06/09/2005 | 12:17 PM ]
Apple said that it did not know how to build future products using IBM’s PowerPC processors and said this was the reason why it decided to switch to Intel Corp.’s chips, but an analyst believes that one of the real reasons for the transition might be IBM’s unwillingness to supply standard products to Apple and support a relatively broad lineup of central processing units.
Petrov Group principal analyst Boris Petrov thinks that not only Apple’s disappointment in the PowerPC, but IBM’s business approach was the reason for the former to switch to Intel Corp.’s chips.
“We believe that this departure should have been expected since Apple and IBM have different roadmaps. IBM is no longer in PC business and who really ‘ditched’ whom is not clear,” Boris Petrov told X-bit labs on Thursday.
Apple Computer has been utilising IBM’s PowerPC chips and derivatives since the year 1994 and throughout this decade various observers and analysts predicted that the computer maker would ditch using the microprocessors in favour of Intel’s chips as a consequence of slow performance progress of IBM’s central processing units as well as relatively narrow family of chips it offered to Apple, which limited opportunities for Apple to target different market segments with its products. Still, the company remained loyal to its chip supplier. After all, on Monday Apple said it had no longer plans to bear with the issues it faced with IBM’s PowerPC and decided to switch to Intel’s chips.
“IBM no longer sells standard products – Apple’s processor was the last product. IBM’s exit from semiconductor products started several years ago and is now fully completed,” Mr. Petrov he added.
While this is a big deal for Apple to throw out IBM’s chips from its machines, significance of this business for IBM is not really evident from the revenue standpoint. Last quarter, according to some reports, Apple sold 1.07 million computers, which is not really a lot. Still, it could be important for IBM to provide Apple with PowerPC chips in order to leverage the influence of this architecture. For instance, all three next-generation game consoles from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony will be powered by chips that use PowerPC architecture. Furthermore, IBM offers consumer electronics designers to design PowerPC derivative processors for their needs.
The Petrov Group analyst thinks that the Cell processor is important, but that is now done and over. However, Power architecture and Linux continue to be critical fuel to IBM’s corporate revenue growth – from $100 billion to $200 billion in the next ten years, according to Petrov Group.
“We believe that Cellular Computing concept approach, of which the Cell is only a small part, is the direction of IBM. Apple and PCs are, therefore, on different path from IBM’s – at present,” Mr. Petrov said.