What This Merger Really Means
In the IT world there couldn’t be more of a surprise than that of the news that Apple and Intel were having talks about working together on future computers. The concept of an Intel chip in a Mac is unfathomable… Or it was nearly a few months ago. Apparenly the chip deal with Apple didn’t make so much money for IBM so they didn’t really mind losing Apple as a customer to Intel.
There is an interesting point in all this. Intel or at least the Intel architecture has one fewer rival now. Although Sony and IBM are working together on a super-advanced processor theoretically faster than anything Intel will have at the time of release, the reality is that competing with Intel (and AMD) chips is nearly impossible to do. Perhaps I’ll eat these words but I doubt it.
What this means for the PC market is lower prices. In any other industry when you lose a competitor you see prices rising. In this case they will go lower.
I say this with confidence trusting that AMD will keep doing as well as they are doing and they continue to put pressure on Intel to be competitive. The market for Intel and compatible chips (assuming AMD will one day be allowed to play with Apple as well) has just grown nicely.
I say nicely because even though Apple has laughable market share, I predict it will grow quickly and surprise most of us. There have been Windows emulation products running on Macs since the dawn of time, now however it will be easier than ever to get a Mac to run windows programs.
I believe the Mac stigma of being different will evaporate a bit with this announcement as well.
The combination of Apple’s success in consumer electronics and their working with Intel on chips is a very positive sign that this company is on a roll. It isn’t just in the CE world but in PCs. Jobs has done the impossible; he has made the Apple name important once again in the mainstream computing market.
I don’t expect Apple sales to take off but a few percentage points in market share is a huge deal for Apple and I think possible given this news. Hats off to Apple for pulling his off and we will see how this news affects Microsoft.
To be honest, Microsoft is having so much trouble competing with free open source software; I bet they welcome a stronger Apple that actually charges for their products. Microsoft probably hopes Apple will take share from Linux.
Intel is such a proponent of VoIP that this announcement likely means good things for this market as well as for Mac users who want to use VoIP products. I am assuming cross-platform development on MAC and Windows operating systems will be easier than ever to accomplish now. If this is indeed the case, Mac users will be able to enjoy many more VoIP applications than they can today
If there is a downside to this news it is that we are reliant now on two major players (no Sun is not a major player) in the CPU business. If AMD has a hiccup, it really makes Intel a monopoly. Well not an official monopoly but you get the idea. I am sure even Intel is hoping AMD does well so they aren’t bothered by anti trust inquiries.
Back to Apple. I have always advised my friends to not buy Apple computers because they just don’t work well enough with Windows-based systems. I get the feeling that in the next few years, I will change my feelings and suggest Apple computers to many more friends and colleagues.