Apple Computer plans to announce Monday that it's scrapping its partnership with IBM and switching its computers to Intel's microprocessors. Apple has been using PowerPC chips to power their Macintosh line of computers since 1994. But according to CNET, Apple is scheduled to announce this Monday at their Worldwide Developer's Conference their intention to make the switch.
Those who remember the migration from the 68k series chips back in the early 90s may recall that it took some doing. To run at optimal speeds, software has to be recompiled to the native chipset. Migrating to a totally different platform such as PowerPC to Intel will be a significant upheaval.
When Apple announced their move to IBM's next-generation PowerPC chipsets (now in the G5) some pundits have long made the argument that Apple can't ship enough computers to remain competitive on both price and performance with computers powered by Intel-compatible CPUs. Simply put, economies of scale were working against Apple in the long-run.
According to a CNET source, what may have spurred the change was just that -- IBM's concerns about making a low-volume chip that competes with x86's in performance in the same price-range. The question is, can the Mac survive a transition from the PowerPC to Intel-based CPUs with the corresponding software compatibility/optimization issues?
News source: News.com