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Freescale Discusses Apple's Intel Switch

Freescale Discusses Apple's Intel Switch

by , 12:40 PM EST, December 7th, 2005

In an interview with CNET News, Freescale CEO, Michael Mayer, revealed that Apple was ready to switch to Intel processors five years ago. During negotiations, he convinced Apple to buy the G5 processor, and he convinced IBM to make it. Freescale manufactures processors for some Macintosh models.

Mr. Mayer commented "I've seen both sides of the Apple story, because I sold the G5 to Steve (Jobs) the first time he wanted to move to Intel."

Later, IBM decided not to pursue a laptop version of the G5, instead focusing on chips for game consoles like Microsoft's new Xbox 360. IBM's move most likely played a large roll in Apple's decision to jump to new processors.

He also noted that, although the company doesn't want to loose Apple as a customer, the desktop chip market accounts for only about one percent of its business. Apple's pending switch to Intel processors for the iBook and PowerBook will free up resources that can be used to build other parts of the Freescale chip business.

Apple announced at the World Wide Developer Conference in 2005 that it will start transitioning the Macintosh product line from the Freescale and IBM G4/G5 processors it currently uses to Intel-based processors some time in 2006. At the conference, Steve Jobs stated that every version of Mac OS X has been co-developed to run on Intel-based processors, leading to speculation that he has been ready to make the switch all along.

Apple's road map has consumer level products, like the iBook and Mac mini, transitioning some time in mid 2006, and pro level machines, like the PowerBook and Power Mac G5 switching near the end of 2007. Some analysts, however, are predicting that Apple may start rolling out Intel-based Macs as early as Macworld Expo 2006 in January.

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