Craig Barrett, the CEO of Intel, recently gave an interview to C|Net to discuss Intelis future. Most of the interview deals with such issues as what kind of processing power will be available when Microsoft ships the next major version of Windows (called "Longhorn"), how the company works with Microsoft, and future technologies from Intel such as Vanderpool (see the interview for more information on that). The interview also includes a question from C|Net about whether or not Intel will ever see Mac OS X come to the x86 platform. In his response, Mr. Barrett not only throws a wet blanket on the idea that Apple would ever move to x86, he also suggests that Appleis market share makes the company less and less worth the effort. From C|Net:
Will Intel ever be able to crack Apple?
We keep trying, but frankly it gets less and less interesting each year. When they were 10 percent of the market it was a more interesting issue. But at 2 percent of the market...our sales can blip 2 percent quarter on quarter, so we can shrink or grow by a couple of Apples. There are lots of interesting aspects in there. Steve (Jobs) is trying to appeal more to the Intel base. You might ask why he doesnit take his OS and try to compete in the other 98 percent of the market. But he doesnit choose to do that.
The OS X kernel runs just fine on Intel. Just a matter of the app stack to stick on top of that. But youill have to talk to Steve about that. We just try to get design wins with these guys.
Intel does have some marketing approaches in common with Apple, such as the consumer approach with Centrino.
With Centrino, weire trying to make sure the consumer gets the whole brand experience. So we have to make sure it works with whatis out there. People are going away from thinking about what particular protocol you have out there to a smart system that will pick out the best connection out there period, and the brand will migrate to that.
Is Sun Microsystems still viable?
Scott (McNealy) has a parallel on the desktop, and that is Apple. They are sophisticated software companies who are wed to hardware revenues and margins. And they are both wed to proprietary hardware. The question is, iWhat is the business model that you can carry over that is successful?i Appleis model has been their increasingly happy with 2 percent of the marketplace, and they are happy to cede the other 98 percent of the marketplace to other people.
I donit know if Scott is on that same track or not. He has had 10 quarters of decreasing revenues. He is increasingly facing competition from Itanium and the more standard building blocks and at the high end from big-iron companies. So he has to decide whether he is going to be a closed-source, proprietary-limited player, as Apple has decided to do, or he is going to do something different. He is at least using Intel architecture at the bottom of the scale. Customers want Solaris on cost-effective building blocks. We have tried to win designs at Sun, as we do at Apple all of the time. I donit have any unique advice for these guys.
Thereis much more in the full article that is not Apple-specific.