The Back Page - Paul Thurrott Re-raises Specter of Apple Switching to Intel
by - April 27th, 2005
Noted Windows fan site operator Paul Thurrott posted a note from WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) that reawakens one of the longest-running rumors and debates in the Mac community. According to Mr. Thurrott, he "heard" at the WinHEC that Apple will be switching to Intel's line of processor this year.
"This one's bizarre," he wrote, "but we heard at lunch today that Apple is unhappy with the PowerPC production at IBM and will be switching to Intel-compatible chips this very year. Yeah, seriously."
Mr. Thurrott, a frequent guest in The Mac Observer's Apple Death Knell Counter, is a self-described Mac user who has earned a reputation as an authority on Windows, at least in the Windows world. He also spends much of his time obsessively posting about Apple's every move at his blog-oriented Internet-Nexus Web site, and is a known poster at many Mac sites.
The rumor that Apple will, or must, switch from the PowerPC processor to Intel's x86 line has been one of the most popular sources of debate within the Mac community for years, especially during the early part of this decade, when Motorola was unable to keep up with Intel in terms of raw MHz.
On the pro-x86 side, the arguments tended to be that Apple should switch because the Pentium family was "faster," and because people didn't want to buy Macs, but did want an alternative to Windows.
Such arguments usually neglected to address the fact that Apple made almost all of its money at that time from sales of Mac hardware, and that controlling the hardware and software was the one competitive advantage Apple had over its competition. Perhaps most importantly, it is Apple's control over the hardware and software that makes Macs so much more stable and easy to use than Windows, which has to support a myriad of hardware configurations over which Microsoft has no control.
Be that as it may, there has been no end to the number of times that this rumor crops up, and Mr. Thurrott's is merely the most recent. As the good folks at Macworld UK noted, the fact that Mr. Thurrott made his comment based on something heard in the thick of the Wintel hegemony's developer world makes it a tad more intriguing, though it must be noted that he offered no contextual background for the source of his information.
As such, I thought it deserved mention, but I don't give it any credence. My long standing analysis of this issue is that there are too many barriers to Apple switching to Intel, and that there aren't enough benefits to doing so. IBM is way behind in pushing the G5 to new speed heights, but the company is committed to the platform, and has what I think is a more promising future than Intel's line.
As much of a weirdo Paul Thurrott is with his bipolar obsession with Apple and the Mac platform, I am sure he was passing along information from someone "in the know" in good-faith, but I don't think it will ever happen, at least not any time soon.
You can read more of his observations from WinHEC at his Windows IT Pro Web site.
began using Apple computers in 1983 in a high school BASIC programming class. He started using Macs in 1990 when the Kinko's guy taught him how to use Aldus PageMaker, finally buying a Power Computing Power 100 in 1995. Today, Bryan is the Editor of The Mac Observer, and has contributed to the print versions of MacAddict and MacFormat (UK).
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