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[News] Apple to buy PPC assets from Motorola?ANN.lu
Posted on 28-Jun-2001 16:32 GMT by Christian Kemp50 comments
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An anonymous person writes: Quote from an article on Mac OS Rumors website from someone claiming to be an Apple employee: "Apple has the option in 2002 of buying the entire Power PC assets from motorola for $500 million." It mainly describes Apples (possible) future strategy regarding PPC and MacOS X respectively, and has some "nice" words about intel processors. Full posting:
I [work] at Apple Computer's corporate campus. [....deleted....] I was frankly quite upset by [Monday]'s posting, which consisted of a number of statements that are clearly false and misleading to Apple shareholders and consumers alike. I am taking considerable risk regarding my employment by offering a rebuttal.

First, allegations that Motorola's commitment to the 7460 aka Apollo have ended are ludicrous in the extreme. The Apollo is still very much a priority, and its development is imperative to ensure the future success of Apple's consumer lines. This chip will not be used in any professional desktops, and is slated to be released concurrently with the G5 codenamed goldfish. The 7460 is aimed at portables and consumer desktops.

Second, the contention that the 7450 is not MERSI compliant is utterly false. It is however true that there is no incentive to produce multi-processor configurations with a large number of processors because the cost cannot be justified in light of the impending release of the G5.

Third, Apple has invested 50 million dollars in developing a .10 micron lithography process for future PowerPC processors last year. Apple has also contributed a large amount of engineering staff to the project, and in fact, much of the design work on the G5 is being done in Building 2 of the Cupertino R&D campus, rather than at Motorola's Austin Texas facilities. This is the only reason the 733Mhz G4 was able to ship, and it was through much saber rattling on Steve Job's part with Motorola. This is in light of the fact that Motorola has been laggard in their Power PC commitment. Apple has the option in 2002 of buying the entire Power PC assets from motorola for $500 million.

Fourth, progress on the G5 has been good to date. It is true that incomplete sample units have been produced. Initially, they were only stable to 833 Mhz, but are now remaining stable at 1.33 GHz. We just received samples of 1.5 and 1.6GHz parts today, but their stability remains to be seen. The G5 is expected to be "taped out" come September or October, with volume production expected to ramp up late this year in order to have systems ready for release at the january Macworld show. Steve Jobs has repeatedly stated that Apple's continued success is imperative on the timely release of the G5.

Fifth, Apple has several contingency plans regarding future hardware, with IBM being the first solution. MacOSX has compiled successfully on three different RISC architectures of which I will not name. It has also been attempted on Intel processors, but it is very unstable because of the Intel architecture's legacy architecture, making them the most computationally ineffecient processors period. Apple will likely not pursue OSX on Intel for fear of the risk of cannibalizing its hardware sales, and from fear of retaliation from Microsoft.

Sixth, because of cost issues, only one G4 multi-processor configuration will be introduced at Macworld. The upside is that recent yields are good on G4 processors greater than 733Mhz, with 5-6 chips per wafer testing at 1GHz. The most likely things that may happen: 733MHz may become the bottom end, with 800Mhz and 933 available now, and 1GHz ship come Seybold [in September].

Last, Apple is turning its focus to IBM to develop the G6 processor and beyond, of which Motorola has not yet committed to, and may not ever. IBM on the other hand has committed to using its most advanced technologies to future PowerPC generations.

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Comment 1Joe "Floid" Kanowitz27-Jun-2001 22:00 GMT
Comment 2Anonymous27-Jun-2001 22:00 GMT
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