June 9, 2005 12:58 PM PDT

Unfazed, IBM pumps Power chip program

Fresh after getting publicly dumped by Apple Computer, IBM is taking new measures to spread its Power processors and make them a stronger competitor to Intel chips.

On Wednesday, IBM announced that 11 new members have joined a consortium of Power processor users. It also released specifications and software to make it easier to build computers using the forthcoming Power-based Cell processor that IBM, Toshiba and Sony developed. In addition, Big Blue has new customers in medical imaging and in defense, said Nigel Beck, chairman of the Power.org consortium.

And on a new section of its Web site, IBM makes the case that most growth in the processor market is taking place with servers, game consoles and mobile devices--markets where Power is used--not personal computers. IBM disclosed the site in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

News.context

What's new:
IBM has found new allies and released new software to promote its Power processors, but Apple's defection to Intel tarnishes the effort.

Bottom line:
Big Blue likely will gain more from gaming consoles built on Power chips than it loses from Apple's departure. The changes help deepen the divide between IBM's Power and Intel's x86 chip families.

More stories on this topic

Apple has been one of the highest-profile customers for Power processors, buying PowerPC chips from IBM and Motorola spin-off Freescale Semiconductor since 1994. That changed Monday when Apple announced its 2006 shift to Intel processors, chips it disparaged for years.

But IBM, far from being daunted, instead set the stage for a showdown with Intel by declaring just how ambitious its Power plans are: "IBM's strategy is to spread its open chip technology and establish Power Architecture as the dominant industry standard," Big Blue said on its Web site.

On the one side, Apple's departure tarnishes the image of the group and its related "Power Everywhere" marketing campaign, said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff. "This certainly takes some of the sheen off of it," he said.

On the other, for burnishing the Power image, the arrival of Cell should offset the departure of Apple. "We believe opening hardware and software specs for Cell will likely expand interest in Power.org," Pund-IT analyst Charles King said in a report.

Linux-on-Power allies hurt
Though Apple's move won't hurt IBM's Power processor manufacturing business much, there are direct effects elsewhere in its business. The company is trying to make Linux useful on its PowerPC- and Power5-based servers, but Apple's move left in the lurch two allies in that effort. Terra Soft Solutions and the Fedora PowerPC project both use Macs in their efforts to develop Linux for Power-based computers.

Terra Soft, which sells Yellow Dog Linux and Macs with the operating system already installed, said it has options to survive Apple's switch to Intel processors. In a statement, CEO Kai Staats said the company doesn't plan to switch its product line to Intel chips but that it still plans to sell its Y-HPC version of Linux for high-performance computing

CONTINUED:
Page 1 | 2

26 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Which OS?
Just curious, does anyone know what OS Cell is supposed to use? Is PowerPC binary compatible with Power5? Has IBM announceed which programming languages, compilers, and tools are going to support Cell?
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Linux most likely...
Considering IBM's effort in supporting Linux, I don't see alternatives...
Posted by feranick (212 comments )
Link Flag
Which OS?
Just curious, does anyone know what OS Cell is supposed to use? Is PowerPC binary compatible with Power5? Has IBM announceed which programming languages, compilers, and tools are going to support Cell?
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Linux most likely...
Considering IBM's effort in supporting Linux, I don't see alternatives...
Posted by feranick (212 comments )
Link Flag
Psst. IBM, inside please...
"IBM's response is to fight back with numbers, calling out In-Stat
statistics forecasting that the game console market will grow
from 3.5 million units this year to 33.5 million in 2008. Sony,
the top seller of game consoles, is using the Cell chip in its
future PlayStation 3, due in 2006. And Microsoft's Xbox 360,
due later this year, uses a Power processor that Beck said is
code-named Waternoose."

What??? Are you guys serious? Is this management by attention
deficit disorder?

Lest we for forget, it was IBM, along with Apple, that promised a
3ghz G5 in a year. IBM, didn't deliver that processor, as we all
know, and left it to the CEO of Apple to make your excuses for
you. The video game market, as I recall, was absent from the list
of reasons given. Perhaps that was an oversight by Apple's CEO.

Well, what exactly did IBM do? Subsequent updates to the G5,
few and far between when IBM got around to them, and were in
fact less then stellar. The 2.5 - 2.7 ghz updates IBM delivered
were unusable out of the box. Apple had to design it's own
liquid cooling system just to get them to work in a Powermac.
No delivery of a G5 whatsoever for any of Apple's laptops. Not to
mention the fabrication issues delaying shipments of existing
product. It couldn't be more obvious that this "partnership" was
a disaster for Apple, and a complete collapse on IBM's part from
the outset.

And your best response is: "Hey everybody, look at all of those
neat video games out there!" Is IBM's partnership integrity that
discountable now?

Game over, IBM.
Posted by Terry Murphy (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Psst. IBM, inside please...
"IBM's response is to fight back with numbers, calling out In-Stat
statistics forecasting that the game console market will grow
from 3.5 million units this year to 33.5 million in 2008. Sony,
the top seller of game consoles, is using the Cell chip in its
future PlayStation 3, due in 2006. And Microsoft's Xbox 360,
due later this year, uses a Power processor that Beck said is
code-named Waternoose."

What??? Are you guys serious? Is this management by attention
deficit disorder?

Lest we for forget, it was IBM, along with Apple, that promised a
3ghz G5 in a year. IBM, didn't deliver that processor, as we all
know, and left it to the CEO of Apple to make your excuses for
you. The video game market, as I recall, was absent from the list
of reasons given. Perhaps that was an oversight by Apple's CEO.

Well, what exactly did IBM do? Subsequent updates to the G5,
few and far between when IBM got around to them, and were in
fact less then stellar. The 2.5 - 2.7 ghz updates IBM delivered
were unusable out of the box. Apple had to design it's own
liquid cooling system just to get them to work in a Powermac.
No delivery of a G5 whatsoever for any of Apple's laptops. Not to
mention the fabrication issues delaying shipments of existing
product. It couldn't be more obvious that this "partnership" was
a disaster for Apple, and a complete collapse on IBM's part from
the outset.

And your best response is: "Hey everybody, look at all of those
neat video games out there!" Is IBM's partnership integrity that
discountable now?

Game over, IBM.
Posted by Terry Murphy (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ibm Servers
Enterprise-class power and flexibility in an affordable Linux server. Built on a mainframe-inspired hardware platform and tuned for Linux, OpenPower systems meet the needs of todays clients by delivering the performance, reliability, high availability and computing power you expect from IBMat a breakthrough price.

Brian,
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.my-casino-gambling.com/gambling-casino/Ibm-Servers-News.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.my-casino-gambling.com/gambling-casino/Ibm-Servers-News.html</a>
Posted by ip_fresh (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ibm Servers
Enterprise-class power and flexibility in an affordable Linux server. Built on a mainframe-inspired hardware platform and tuned for Linux, OpenPower systems meet the needs of todays clients by delivering the performance, reliability, high availability and computing power you expect from IBMat a breakthrough price.

Brian,
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.my-casino-gambling.com/gambling-casino/Ibm-Servers-News.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.my-casino-gambling.com/gambling-casino/Ibm-Servers-News.html</a>
Posted by ip_fresh (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Reality Check please
Can the IBM management team actually be ever taken seriously
again when they suggest that Apple abandoning the Power PC
architecture will have little to no impact on their business?

Or perhaps unlike someone else's claims, they actually did inhale!
Posted by GymW (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, little impact
For all the hype that Apple generates, they are a very small player. As far as number of units sold or profit, the loss will amount to just a drop in the bucket for IBM. IBM sales will spike on the XBOX alone. Far more than anything Apple could do.
Now, can they(IBM) keep everyone else from jumping ship off the PPC? Will the PPC still be considered viable by Lunix, UNIX, or any of the other large scale players? That is the real question.
Posted by catchall (245 comments )
Link Flag
PowerPC derived Intel chips?
Actually, don't think it as Apple going to use a plain x86 design made by Intel, think of it as Apple going to use a PowerPC-ish x86 hybrid design made by Intel. Think of it as Apple 'taking over' Intel to make a PowerPC design exclusively for P.C.s (instead of just for servers, embedded applications, etc). Imagine the all of the support (big discount, willing to 'revise' chips, etc) that Intel going to give to Apple.

Come on, you know that Intel want something to update their x86 chips for P.C.s and to make it different from other x86 chips, it might as well be a PowerPC design, though the update have to be cleverly disguised so it wouldn't look as if Intel is switching TO PowerPC. Neither Apple nor Intel want a straight plain x86 design. I suspect that by the end of the decade and at the beginning of the decade, Intel's x86 design will look more like a PowerPC design than its other x86 counterparts.


Why not? Apple done the same thing when it proposed to merged Motorola's 680x0 design with I.B.M.'s POWER design which in turn give the birth of the PowerPC, a relatively compact and low power version of the POWER design. And also when Apple proposed for Motorola to use the V.M.X. (AltiVec/Velocity Engine) from I.B.M.'s POWER in Motorola's PowerPCs (now Freescale's PowerPCs), and also when Apple too proposed to include them in I.B.M.'s PowerPC, giving both I.B.M. and Motorola (now Freescale)'s PowerPC to have POWER's V.M.X..

ANd also shouldn't Apple as a PowerPC partner (like I.B.M. and Motorola/Freescale) had the right to use some or all of the PowerPC's design to be used on other chip made by other chip manufacturers? Apple isn't just a mere customer (they are a big customer on the P.C. area though), they ARE the PowerPC alliance.

Instead of thinking Apple dumping the PowerPC and I.B.M. is exhausted on designing the PowerPC. Think of it as Intel going to be largest PowerPC manufacturer for P.C.s, Apple and Intel might have even spin off a separate company for it.

In the end, the PowerPC road will go like this:

Apple-Intel = Focused on PowerPC-ish designs for P.C.s.

I.B.M. = Focused on PowerPC designs for servers and miscellaneous stuff.

Freescale = Focused on PowerPC designs for embedded applications.



As for I.B.M.'s PowerPC design without Apple as a big customer.

Well... The impact is that the 'main' PowerPC design wouldn't have a P.C. version of it. While it's a big impact, it wouldn't hurt the PowerPC design fatally.



Personally, I think that this recent 'switch' is just only a mere a stunt to make people fight each other, since it's obvious that things have recently gone relatively quiet in the community of Apple, I.B.M., and so on, and 'they' just love to make people from all sides to fight each other. I mean that if some people claimed that Apple is only a 'small' player, why the big deal over it?
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
Reality Check please
Can the IBM management team actually be ever taken seriously
again when they suggest that Apple abandoning the Power PC
architecture will have little to no impact on their business?

Or perhaps unlike someone else's claims, they actually did inhale!
Posted by GymW (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, little impact
For all the hype that Apple generates, they are a very small player. As far as number of units sold or profit, the loss will amount to just a drop in the bucket for IBM. IBM sales will spike on the XBOX alone. Far more than anything Apple could do.
Now, can they(IBM) keep everyone else from jumping ship off the PPC? Will the PPC still be considered viable by Lunix, UNIX, or any of the other large scale players? That is the real question.
Posted by catchall (245 comments )
Link Flag
PowerPC derived Intel chips?
Actually, don't think it as Apple going to use a plain x86 design made by Intel, think of it as Apple going to use a PowerPC-ish x86 hybrid design made by Intel. Think of it as Apple 'taking over' Intel to make a PowerPC design exclusively for P.C.s (instead of just for servers, embedded applications, etc). Imagine the all of the support (big discount, willing to 'revise' chips, etc) that Intel going to give to Apple.

Come on, you know that Intel want something to update their x86 chips for P.C.s and to make it different from other x86 chips, it might as well be a PowerPC design, though the update have to be cleverly disguised so it wouldn't look as if Intel is switching TO PowerPC. Neither Apple nor Intel want a straight plain x86 design. I suspect that by the end of the decade and at the beginning of the decade, Intel's x86 design will look more like a PowerPC design than its other x86 counterparts.


Why not? Apple done the same thing when it proposed to merged Motorola's 680x0 design with I.B.M.'s POWER design which in turn give the birth of the PowerPC, a relatively compact and low power version of the POWER design. And also when Apple proposed for Motorola to use the V.M.X. (AltiVec/Velocity Engine) from I.B.M.'s POWER in Motorola's PowerPCs (now Freescale's PowerPCs), and also when Apple too proposed to include them in I.B.M.'s PowerPC, giving both I.B.M. and Motorola (now Freescale)'s PowerPC to have POWER's V.M.X..

ANd also shouldn't Apple as a PowerPC partner (like I.B.M. and Motorola/Freescale) had the right to use some or all of the PowerPC's design to be used on other chip made by other chip manufacturers? Apple isn't just a mere customer (they are a big customer on the P.C. area though), they ARE the PowerPC alliance.

Instead of thinking Apple dumping the PowerPC and I.B.M. is exhausted on designing the PowerPC. Think of it as Intel going to be largest PowerPC manufacturer for P.C.s, Apple and Intel might have even spin off a separate company for it.

In the end, the PowerPC road will go like this:

Apple-Intel = Focused on PowerPC-ish designs for P.C.s.

I.B.M. = Focused on PowerPC designs for servers and miscellaneous stuff.

Freescale = Focused on PowerPC designs for embedded applications.



As for I.B.M.'s PowerPC design without Apple as a big customer.

Well... The impact is that the 'main' PowerPC design wouldn't have a P.C. version of it. While it's a big impact, it wouldn't hurt the PowerPC design fatally.



Personally, I think that this recent 'switch' is just only a mere a stunt to make people fight each other, since it's obvious that things have recently gone relatively quiet in the community of Apple, I.B.M., and so on, and 'they' just love to make people from all sides to fight each other. I mean that if some people claimed that Apple is only a 'small' player, why the big deal over it?
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
Power the dominant architecture
That is what I've been wanting for the past 5 years. But how will
IBM do that exclaiming PC's are not important.
Posted by (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Power the dominant architecture
That is what I've been wanting for the past 5 years. But how will
IBM do that exclaiming PC's are not important.
Posted by (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IBM Power
I don't think that IBM really care about the loss of Apple. While it was a good boasting point Apple do not sell enough computers to justify going to special efforts, and that is what Apple wanted. IBM is being smarter by prioritising game machines and servers, both areas of greater profit. There is not much money in making a small number of CPUs for a PC manufacturer.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IBM Power
I don't think that IBM really care about the loss of Apple. While it was a good boasting point Apple do not sell enough computers to justify going to special efforts, and that is what Apple wanted. IBM is being smarter by prioritising game machines and servers, both areas of greater profit. There is not much money in making a small number of CPUs for a PC manufacturer.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It doesn't matter anyway...
Actually it doesn't matter anyway, considering that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all use I.B.M. chips for their gaming consoles.

Of course, all of them sold their gaming consoles at a loss. So the money for the chips have to come from these companies' profit, which is obviously isn't going to come from the profit from the game consoles hardware division.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It doesn't matter anyway...
Actually it doesn't matter anyway, considering that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all use I.B.M. chips for their gaming consoles.

Of course, all of them sold their gaming consoles at a loss. So the money for the chips have to come from these companies' profit, which is obviously isn't going to come from the profit from the game consoles hardware division.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I like the lack of negativity in some issues, not the negativity on others.
Well... The G5 was so hot, Apple might as well use an Intel.



While I do like the lack of negativity on I.B.M.'s part regarding their recent 'loss' of a big customer and focused on the good things about their new big customers, I don't like the negativity on other issues.



As for game consoles.

Well... Game consoles are sold at a loss, so... the money for the chips have to come from non-hardware game consoles profit. I.B.M. should be asking more than per chip prices from their new customers.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I like the lack of negativity in some issues, not the negativity on others.
Well... The G5 was so hot, Apple might as well use an Intel.



While I do like the lack of negativity on I.B.M.'s part regarding their recent 'loss' of a big customer and focused on the good things about their new big customers, I don't like the negativity on other issues.



As for game consoles.

Well... Game consoles are sold at a loss, so... the money for the chips have to come from non-hardware game consoles profit. I.B.M. should be asking more than per chip prices from their new customers.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.