Is the purchase of SGI realistic?

  • Posted: 07 February 2002 08:47 AM

    Noting that Silicon Graphics stocks are below a dollar, and their market cap is a mere $145 million, would it be a good idea for Apple to acquire SGI? Apple clearly has more than enough cash to do so, but would it make sense?

    Technology wise probably not. Their hardware is x86 based, and Apple would have little to gain. However, from a marketing standpoint, everyone who wanted to upgrade their SGI stations would need to purchase Macs to do all their Maya rendering, etc. Plus, the average Joe knows the name Silicon Graphics and thinks “high end graphics” when they hear it. Besides us, who else in the general public currently thinks the same of Macs? Once people start looking to Apple for their rendering needs, perhaps the MHz myth will finally be put to rest.

    What do you think?


    A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

  • Posted: 11 July 2001 07:58 AM #1

    I think its a bad idea. SGI is totally screwed up they support three operating systems: IRIX, Linux and NT. They support three processor architectures: MIPS, X86 and Itanium. The Alias Wavefront division has Maya wich might be a good fit but also supports Windows, IRIX, OSX and Linux. Alias also has a lot of high end industrial design software that supports NT, IRIX and AIX.

    IBM and Motorola would have to release a very capable 64 bit chip with great multiprocessing and floating point capabilities. G5 maybe? SGI would have to adopt the G5 to their NUMAflex architecture. OSX/Darwin would need a *lot* of work before it could be considered a supercomputer OS. SGI would need to port their proprietary libraries to OSX. SGI/Apple would have to convince their third party ISVs that their new G5/OSX/NUMAFlex architecture is high performance eneogh to merit porting their software.

    So you are looking at 12-18 months before hardware products could be released

    lots of angry Alias|wavefront maya users, assuming Apple would cancel NT,IRIX and Linux development

    lots of angry Alias|wavefront designer and studio users, plus it would take a long time to port the software to OSX

    No guarentee that SGI’s ISVs would come along for the ride

    Overall limited benefit of entering the super computer market that is shrinking

    Running Alias|wavefront would be cool but would also likely be a money loosing division indefinatly

  • Posted: 11 July 2001 07:49 PM #2

    In the SGI note it was implied that Mhz don’t matter.  Don’t kid your selfs.  Although I use Macs and preffer them, Mhz do matter.  They matter when you run games or anything that does not use dual processors and/or anything that is not AltiVec enabled.  Apple needs to get their act together and quick.  If they are as hot as they are supposed to be, then let them match Intel Mhz for Mhz.  Only then Macs will start moving and regaining turf.  The price is another problem they need to tackle fast.  There is no reason for selling a computer for $3,500.  Theyre top offering should be priced at $2,500.

    Take note.

  • Posted: 11 July 2001 09:43 PM #3

    Purchasing of SGI would be a good idea for their LAN file
    system and OpenGL expertise. It might be a bit premature
    for Apple to get in the server business to the point where
    will be challenging Sun, Microsoft, and IBM.

  • Posted: 12 July 2001 05:30 AM #4

    It would be a good move for them.  Apple would slowly assimilate SGI into Apple as it has neXt.  It would expand Apple’s graphics market.  Remember.  It’s not about necesarally becoming compatibile.  It is about Apple having the rights to technology that has made SGI a leader.

  • Posted: 24 July 2001 08:08 AM #5

    One note that *everyone* who talks about Apple buying SGI seems to get wrong is the assumption that SGI owns Cray Supercomputers.  It *does not*.  It used to.  But on March 2, 2000, SGI sold Cray to Tera Computer.  Tera in turn, changed it’s name to Cray.  Here’s an example press release:  

  • Posted: 25 July 2001 10:14 AM #6

    Acquiring SGI “COULD” be a good thing.
    It would give Apple numerous new technologies, elite engineers and several new markets to work with.
    However, there would need to be LOTS of fat trimming from SGI.
    (warning: heavy doses of opinion follow !)

    1)Absolve ALL SGI workstation class machines regardless of processor and OS (with the possible delay of MIPS based IRIX workstations). They will be replaced by new multiprocessor G5 Macs that are built to be high end severs and/or workstations.

    2)Roll Linux development into Apple’s open source group. Some layoffs/reshuffling may be required.

    3)Keep the MIPS based enterprise and supercomputer units untouched.

    This would be a HUGE acquition for Apple for many reasons.
    It would place then instantly into the enterprise market but being so new to Apple it could make some critical mistakes.

    As exciting as this would be for Apple, I don’t think they’re in a possition to do this. I think they need to keep their money in the bank, in the bank.
    It’s fun to dream though

  • Posted: 26 July 2001 08:43 AM #7

    In terms of just making money, it seems to me that SGI would be an excellent purchase if Apple intended to skim off everything they liked and then sell the rest of the company in pieces to the highest bidders. This would give them access to very high level technologies and engineers while at the same time they could make a buck off other corporations who might want to buy certain technologies. However, if SGI has a lot of debt then all bets are off. However, I highly doubt that Apple would want to hold on to the entire company as only certain specific technologies are important to Apple at the moment.

  • Posted: 31 August 2001 09:52 PM #8

    Its possible an Apple+SGI would be a good move but like the other poster said debt of SGI would be a decision factor.  If you look at SGI’s stock price, it doesn’t look good… it makes me think of how they make take the Be Inc way out of things *cough* selling tech/property to another corp.

    NeXT and SGI are really completely different, NeXT only made their OS run on 68k and x86 systems while SGI’s systems use MIPS, x86 and Itanium.  The other thing you have to be afraid of is if Apple did grab SGI, MS could threaten Apple over licensing of Windows NT/2k which runs on several models of SGI’s workstations.  If you’ve read about MS’s sneaky licensing tactics I wouldn’t be surprised if they made sure Apple would have a hard time grabbing SGI.  Look at how MS made sure Quicktime and other apps isn’t pre-installed on OEM systems as if a PC maker installs a 3rd party app with desktop icon, it would require 3-4 MS products to be on the desktop.(it shows how MS thinks they can own every computers desktop!)

  • Posted: 18 September 2001 08:18 AM #9

    > NeXT and SGI are really completely different, NeXT only made their
    > OS run on 68k and x86 systems while SGI’s systems use MIPS, x86
    > and Itanium.

    Actually, NeXT’s NEXTSTEP (later called OPENSTEP) ran on their own Motorola 68030/40 machines, 486+, HP PA-RISC, and SPARC (not UltraSPARC). Plus, their Portable Distributed Objects (PDO) technology ran on Alpha with OSF/1. Finally, Sun did in implementation of the OPENSTEP standard under Solaris (DEC was supposed to for OSF/1, but cancelled - the port was almost finished). PDO was a product that extended the back-end runtime to other operating systems, including OSF/1, Solaris, HP/UX and Windows NT/2k. Finally, NeXT created an OPENSTEP implementation for Windows NT/98/2k, renamed Yellow Box by Apple. This is the technology that is currently hosting WebObjects for NT/2k.

    Matter of fact, right now, Apple supports several software projects that run on non-Mac hardware. WebObjects Developer runs on Mac OS X and Windows NT/2k, but can be deployed on HP/UX and Solaris as well. Probably most “real” WebObjects deployments are on Solaris. AppleWorks has a Windows port. Quicktime has a Windows port. Darwin has an x86 port. I think Apple can absorb SGI’s products and maintain the non-Mac portions.

    I think dropping SGI’s x86 line of workstations and servers would be prudent. There isn’t enough value add that SGI provides in that space.

    However, SGI can teach Apple how to build servers and support servers. It doesn’t really matter if your AFP server is MIPS or Power based, does it? Apple doesn’t make anything but desktop workstations… imagine SGI designed Power4 and G5 servers. Yum. More importantly, Apple’s service sucks for high end computing and server markets. It’s handling of Mac OS X Server of the years is atrocious. While SGI isn’t the best at it, it is certainly better than Apple.


  • Posted: 03 October 2001 10:22 AM #10

    many people may not know this, but a LOT of graphic work in the print industry is done on SGI machines. In fact, most large pre-press (film ready) shops use them, with programs such as BARCO. (Better color separation and trapping than any program on the Mac.)

    If Apple could pay, say, $85 Million for it, it could be worth it for brand recognition and current customer base alone.

    Will they? Nahh. But perhaps they may be interested in Gateway (what with them owning most of the Amiga patents)



    Tim Robertson, Publisher

  • Posted: 06 January 2002 12:15 AM #11

    The thought of Apple buying SGI has crossed my mind many, many times.  It would give Apple access to an installed base of high-end users. The question for me is: Is Apple in a position to effectively migrate SGI’s current customers to the OS X and Mac hardware?

    We’ll hear more on Monday (1/7/02) about the current state of the Mac in terms of the company’s focus and direction for the platform. In my view an acquisition of SGI or AVID is proabably something that Apple will seriously consider at the time Steve & Co. are convinced they can successfully address the needs of of the established customer base with Mac-based solutions.

  • Posted: 07 February 2002 04:16 AM #12

    On 2002-01-06 04:15, DawnTreader wrote:
    The thought of Apple buying SGI has crossed my mind many, many times.  It would give Apple access to an installed base of high-end users. The question for me is: Is Apple in a position to effectively migrate SGI’s current customers to the OS X and Mac hardware?

    It has crossed my mind many times as well. I bought SGI @ $.66 and it has worked out well, but my hopes that Apple would buy SGI has diminished as SGI has climbed to the $3 range. Additionally, when Microsoft recently bought some of SGI’s graphics technology it further diminished my hope of an Apple buy out.

    Having said that, SGI has compelling reasons for Apple to consider them. A position of dominance in the high end visualization and graphics market, a fully functional UNIX variant - IRIX, High end 3D modling software - Maya & OpenGL, NUMAflex architecture - and many other hardware related patents. Apple would not have to do much to take full advantage of SGI’s strengths. Using advanced (G5?) PowerMacs as front ends to SGI’s advanced server technologies seems like a good way for Apple to evolve it’s enterprise. And if, hope upon hope, Apple buys the rights to the PowerPC from Motorola a transition from MIPS to PowerPC processors in SGI hardware would give Apple a new place to put all those G5’s

  • Posted: 07 February 2002 08:47 AM #13

    I agree. At $500million or more, SGI is expensive when compared to what Apple can accomplish on its own with time and developer support.