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Will Intel buy Apple?
June 10, 2005 3:51 PM   Subscribe

The announcement that Apple was moving to Intel hardware was the first move in Intel's take-over of Apple, according to Robert Cringely, giving Intel a platform to compete head-to-head with Microsoft. "This scenario works well for everyone except Microsoft. If Intel was able to own the Mac OS and make it available to all the OEMs, it could break the back of Microsoft. And Apple/Intel could easily extend this to the consumer electronics world. How much would it cost Intel to buy Apple? Not much." More.
posted by bobbyelliott (57 comments total)

 
According to Robert Cringely, my underpants are in fact, edible.
posted by helvetica at 3:58 PM on June 10, 2005


What does it benefit Intel to kill off Microsoft's consumer market? Can Jobs really say goodbye to Apple? Does Intel have enough cash to buy off Apple?
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:58 PM on June 10, 2005


Stupid. Let me supply my answers:

Question 1: What happened to the PowerPC's supposed performance advantage over Intel?

Intel makes CPUs for the desktop while the AIM troika (save Apple) has gotten out of that game. Oops. This had a lot of deleterous effects, like Moto not ramping up the FSB, making G4s unable to take advantage of DDR. Bad. I don't know the details, but I think Apple paid big bucks for the G5 design (including the memory controller), and G5 sales have been tailing off toward 200k/qtr since its introduction 2 years ago. NOT a market success.

Question 2: What happened to Apple's 64-bit operating system?

Cringely bodged this answer. Mainstream P4 is 64bit now, and P4-M P-M may get it in time for Apple to ship a pure 64-bit platform.

Question 3: Where the heck is AMD?

Intel's operating income over the past 3 years:

2002: $4.3B
2003: $7.5B
2004: $10.1B

AMD:

2002: ($1.2B)
2003: ($233M)
2004: $221M

Any more questions?

Question 4: Why announce this chip swap a year before it will even begin for customers?

AFAIK it went company-wide, more or less, just weeks ago. x86 builds had been going on from the early days, but once the commitment was decided on, WWDC is the best place to get it out to the people who matter, the developers, in an orderly and well-spun way.

Question 5 was stupid so I'll skip it.

Cringely later says: "The vaunted Intel roadmap is nice, but no nicer than the AMD roadmap, and nothing that IBM couldn't have matched."

Difference being Apple had to pay IBM to work on this roadmap and deliver it, while Intel is going to be paying Apple to move to their CPUs and chipsets. Plus NOT being on Intel has been a net-negative for the past 5 years or so (FSB speeds, interfacing with NVIDIA and ATI), and even more so now that the Sonoma architecture totally obliterates the G4 platform wrt wattage, FSB, memory architecture, and graphics subsystem.

Intel buying Apple is unnecessary. Much cheaper just being Apple's best alternative.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:59 PM on June 10, 2005


Given this, I am now concerned - is Intel going to include DRM in the chips it makes for Apple too?
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:10 PM on June 10, 2005


heywood mogroot would seem to have nailed it.

Plus, there's the fact that Apple, for all the hype, really does inspire devotion in its employees and shareholders. I think it would take more than money to convince them to sell. Not to mention that they're still at the height of their mobile music dominance phase and there's plenty more money to be made before selling even looks like an attractive option.
posted by shmegegge at 4:10 PM on June 10, 2005


Apple won't be bought by Intel, its got a brand recognition and, some would say, fanatically loyal customer base that wouldn't survive an acquisition or merger and Intel's smart enough to know that.
posted by fenriq at 4:12 PM on June 10, 2005


Intel would be much happier serving as a supplier to Apple than attempting to gain ownership. To attempt a full vertical market - systems, OS, application software, accessories, etc. - would polarise the contracts Intel already has with other companies. Existing markets and revenue would be jeopardized, and charges of monopolistic practices would inflict even further damage.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:17 PM on June 10, 2005


Much cheaper for intel to create an Intel branded distro of linux which has just as many religious zealots but comes with a diminished metrosexual appeal and much greater geek chic.
posted by canucklehead at 5:06 PM on June 10, 2005


Is it just me, or is Cringley the Ann Coulter of computing?
posted by keswick at 5:43 PM on June 10, 2005


Is it just me, or is Cringley the Ann Coulter of computing?

Cringley's known for stirring up trouble, but he's not a one-trick pony like Coulter.
posted by johnjreiser at 5:50 PM on June 10, 2005


johnjreiser, don't leave us hanging, what one trick can Coulter do? I hope its that she can stuff an entire keilbasa down her throat, it would at least get her to shut up.
posted by fenriq at 6:08 PM on June 10, 2005


What's the logic in this? Why would Intel want to burn one of the greatest symbiotic business relationships ever (Intel & MS)?
I want some of what Cringely's smoking.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:09 PM on June 10, 2005


Cringley is sometimes brilliant, and sometimes as thick as ... something really, really thick.

This, however, sets a new standard for thickness. What an embarassing column to have penned!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:10 PM on June 10, 2005


I think maybe John C. Dvorak is the Ann Coulter you are thinking of.
posted by ericost at 6:12 PM on June 10, 2005


Surely its the idea that giving developers the Intel vs IBM chip allows for not only greater speed but a broader base of apps.

I have minimal knowledge of how systems integrate, but would it be possible to then have the whole Apple OSX environment crafted to operate on systems on than Apples?

If so, talk about Giant killer..or is my A$$ talking now?
posted by Mr Bluesky at 7:19 PM on June 10, 2005


Sorry that should read "other than Apples?"
posted by Mr Bluesky at 7:20 PM on June 10, 2005



I have minimal knowledge of how systems integrate, but would it be possible to then have the whole Apple OSX environment crafted to operate on systems on than Apples?


I expect that once Apple starts shipping MacIntels, it wont take hackers long to figure out how to get OSX to run on non-apple PCs (the intel-based Apples will probably have a special BIOS or something for OSX to detect when it installs). HOWEVER, since there is more or less no driver support for generic hardware (my chipset, sata drives, etc) it wouldnt be really that useful other than saying "wow, cool!". The only possible benefit would be to be able to buy the identical parts seperately, and then build it yourself and put an illegal copy of OSX on it. Even then its a)illegal and b)might not work completely if apple has fiddled with the hardware a little.
posted by SirOmega at 7:34 PM on June 10, 2005


Bluesky: Not a broader base of apps, since every Windows app run on a Mac is a loss of mindshare that makes the OS X platform less relevant, and Apple has announced no plans of porting their proprietary API to run on XP or Longhorn.

It would be very possible for Apple to allow DIY or OEMs to install OS X on bog-standard x86 PCs. It is possible that Apple will require Intel's new firmware (EFI), which would eliminate the millions (billions?) of PCs around now, and Apple might also require Intel-only features like LaGrande (a security feature deep within Intel's CPUs) that will only start shipping next year.

Whether Apple goes out of its way to disallow this is anyone's guess. It would benefit as a software provider if say 10M x86 owners were to pay $100 for 10.4 or 10.5 each year.... That would be a billion dollars of free money, equal to the profits of five years of G5 tower sales ($1Billion / $2500 average price * 10% net margin / 800k towers sold each year).

If Apple were to allow DIY it could still focus on minis, laptops, servers, and high-end workstations. I hope they do. Being able to put together an OS X box from newegg would totally rock.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:46 PM on June 10, 2005


Cringley is on crack and has been for a long time. Basically his articles all are about some far-fetched idea in the tech sector that very rarely ends up being true. He banks on people's imaginations, like any good writer of fiction should.
posted by angry modem at 7:48 PM on June 10, 2005


Apple will never do anything that lets people make their own Apples. At least, not anytime in the forseeable future. They're still in the hardware game. And, as mentioned, OS X driver support for hardware not bundled in Apple x86 machines will be non-existant.

HOWEVER.

It should be trivial for someone to hack up a copy of XP/Longhorn to run on the Apple boxes, considering that the Windows drivers already exist for 99% of the hardware Apple will be using.

My prediction: You WILL be able to dualboot XP and OS X -- but you'll need to buy an Apple to do it.

If this happens, my computer will be an Apple.
posted by Jairus at 8:11 PM on June 10, 2005


Jairus: the conventional wisdom on the assertion that DIY impinges on Apple's bottom line is arguably incorrect.

Apple is going to be competing directly with Dell's 18% gross margins now. Sure, it's got OS X which should be somewhat better than Longhorn, but I think EFI/Longhorn is going to be a similarly quantum improvement to the PC UE that Win95 was, so the advantage of OS X will be narrowing over time not expanding.

So maybe Apple will be able to run its usual 25-30% gross margins. Great. It still has $500M in R&D to pay for on 4-5M in yearly unit sales -- x86 doesn't change the dynamic that most people are still stuck on the XP platform. My numbers above show that if Apple could sell 10M OS X licenses a year to DIY, it would make 5x more money than its usual 800k/yr tower sales. Simplifying the math, that works out to a 2.5:1 ratio; as long as Apple sells 2.5 licenses (at $100) for each lost hardware sale, it's ahead of the game. This ignores the greater application sales Apple would get having more OS X boxes out there, too. Apple makes MORE money from software and iPods than hardware these days, much more.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:24 PM on June 10, 2005


Heywood Mogroot, I'm not arguing that opening the Apple hardware platform would (or would not) impact Apple's sales -- I'm saying that if Apple was getting out of the exclusive-hardware game, they would've said something at the conference.

Apple isn't a software company, it's a brand. Apple hardware is part of that brand, and I think this move to switch to Intel strengthens their commitment to hardware, not the other way around.
posted by Jairus at 8:27 PM on June 10, 2005


HM wrote: Intel makes CPUs for the desktop while the AIM troika (save Apple) has gotten out of that game. Oops. This had a lot of deleterous effects, like Moto not ramping up the FSB, making G4s unable to take advantage of DDR. Bad. I don't know the details, but I think Apple paid big bucks for the G5 design (including the memory controller), and G5 sales have been tailing off toward 200k/qtr since its introduction 2 years ago. NOT a market success.

This is what's interesting about using computers. I don't understand a thing in this paragraph, save for the last sentence, which would apply to any commodity. And yet, here I am typing away on my Apple PowerbookTM. There are plenty of things I would guess I know that HM or orthogonality or whoever does not know, but none that so directly concern the medium in which we communicate. It's maddening.
posted by OmieWise at 8:29 PM on June 10, 2005


Also: I have seen nothing that indicates Longhorn will be a great leap forward. Aero might be nice, and EFI is an interesting spec, but MS has dropped most of the killer features from it.
posted by Jairus at 8:29 PM on June 10, 2005


I'll buy this. I was saying something similar just tonight. Intel could well be interested in leaving Microsoft and conquering AMD at a swoop. Why not? OS X would be free if Intel bought Apple, and they can more than afford $500m of R&D a year to keep it current. Sod Apple's "devotion", it makes sound business sense, will make the shareholders rich and free up Jobs to take Disney.

You're all wrong. Or, to put it more succinctly:
No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame
posted by bonaldi at 8:49 PM on June 10, 2005


My prediction: You WILL be able to dualboot XP and OS X -- but you'll need to buy an Apple to do it.

Apple has come out and said they will not stop users from dual booting Windows and OSX. It wouldnt surprise me if they encourage it since it would probably drive up Apple hardware sales.

And on the vertical integration of the computer industry - it wouldnt surprise me if it happened. Intel buys Apple, MS buys AMD (MS and AMD have had a very cozy relationship the past few years so its not that much of a stretch). ATI and nVidia get bought, etc. Several rounds of consolidation later, the industry is very segmented, like it was in the early 80s. And we do this all over again.
posted by SirOmega at 9:00 PM on June 10, 2005


So does this mean all those people who told me that the Mac Mini would run circles around my Athlon XP 1800 are full of shit, or would any counter-crowing need to concern only brand-new Intel thingies?

Oh and Jairus, MY computer will still be fairly cheap -- and I won't run any newer M$ products than the Win98SE I've got now, nor do I see why OSX on an x86 would necessarily be any better than Fedora and KDE. It'd have to be really something to beat out cheap or free, and then somebody else would have to pay for it.

About this thread specifically: I think bonaldi's comment makes sense. Maybe Viacom will be involved somehow.

And who the fuck is Cringely, and why is s/he important?
posted by davy at 9:15 PM on June 10, 2005


I have seen nothing that indicates Longhorn will be a great leap forward

I think Avalon, which will introduce a proper backing store window server (like what Apple had 3 or 4 years ago depending if you think hardware acceleration is 'proper') will be a very noticeable leap forward. Plus the resolution-independent, rendered UI will enable very high-DPI UI, which I guarantee you will notice too.

True, the Avalon API will be backported to XP but I think it will work better on LH.

Apple hardware is part of that brand, and I think this move to switch to Intel strengthens their commitment to hardware

Disagree. If Windows runs on Apple-branded hw, that implies a degree of bog-standardness that Apple hasn't had since the II+. While going Intel will enable Apple to more fully explore some design spaces currently closed off to them now, produce more powerful hw at a better pricepoint, I do think this is the definite death, the end, of the Macintosh as a coherent brand entity. I call this new Intel-Inside brand 'Frankentosh'.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:15 PM on June 10, 2005


I really hope that Apple continues to make chipsets. My crusty old dual 1 GHz G4 beats the pants off my AMD64 at home and my P4 at work for I/O. The AMD and Intel beat it for pure processor performance but man, when I hammer memory or especially I/O they're pathetic.

There seems to be a lot of people disgruntled over not picking AMD. I love AMD processors but Intel will bury them in the long term. Intel can just outspend them on R&D.
posted by substrate at 9:41 PM on June 10, 2005


Apple will let in the clones as soon as it rehires Woz.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:06 PM on June 10, 2005


Here's what I want to see :

Someone introduces a program that can virtualize the X86 CPU such that we don't have to dual boot; we can run Windows and OS X (and maybe Linux and who knows what else) simultaneously.

I realise there are already virtualisation technologies about, I use Virtual PC on my Macs already, but this program allows the environments run not only run simultaneously, but also seamlessly, share stuff (again, VPC already does this).

Oh! This technology just knows what OS a program runs under, and automatically launches it.

I'm tired of OS BS. I just want to run the programs I need, when I need them. I'm tired of having to put something on my Mac's iDisk then access it on my PC just because the software I need to massage this data only runs on PC, and VPC is just too slow (or incompatible).

I loves Macs, but in the end all I want to do is use a computer.
posted by Mutant at 12:20 AM on June 11, 2005


The fatal flaw with Cringely's thesis is that if such a plan really did exist in advance of Intel announcing it was to acquire Apple - and Apple and Intel were both working towards that plan as Cringely implies, it would be 100% illegal. These are both publically traded companies for f**k's sake - there are laws about this sort of thing.
posted by pascal at 12:47 AM on June 11, 2005


pascal: What's illegal about it? The announcement of an acquisition is at the end of the process, not the beginning, especially in the case of a friendly transaction. I'm no expert on the disclosure laws, but I don't think anything would have to be made public unless an actual bid was made to the board of directors.
posted by mullacc at 1:15 AM on June 11, 2005


What's the logic in this? Why would Intel want to burn one of the greatest symbiotic business relationships ever (Intel & MS)?

Err... haven't they done that already? You think Microsoft wanted Intel to support Apple?

BTW am I missing something in OSX that makes it better than Longhorn? But then I've always missed "the Mac experience". The silly mouse on Macs is enough to reduce my productivity so significantly that it makes a Mac an automatic no-no.
posted by bobbyelliott at 1:39 AM on June 11, 2005


canucklehead Much cheaper for intel to create an Intel branded distro of linux which has just as many religious zealots but comes with a diminished metrosexual appeal and much greater geek chic.

You know, some girls prefer linux.

Mutant Here's what I want to see : Someone introduces a program that can virtualize the X86 CPU such that we don't have to dual boot; we can run Windows and OS X (and maybe Linux and who knows what else) simultaneously.

It's called xen. Right now, kernels needs a patch, but with Intel's planned hardware, that won't be necessary, and it will support Windows without modification. It shouldn't be a problem with OSXi, at least, on an Apple box. I believe that MS is planning to incorporate a similar virtualization technique in Longhorn.

But what really scares me is Intel's intention to put the Fritz chip (DRM) in the CPU. That could really kill open source as we know it.

Microsoft is scary-smart. You'd think they'd be behind the curve, but they've hired pretty much all of the Haskell language developers, the first effects of which will be seen in the very impressive Microsoft Shell (msh/Monad)

The concepts presented in Haskell really are the way of the future(PDF), and even though msh emphasizes some dumb C# scripting language, I don't see anything like this kind of forward thought in the open source community. Ruby and Python are cute, but not impressive.

Well, here's hoping that worse is better.
posted by cytherea at 1:53 AM on June 11, 2005


BTW am I missing something in OSX that makes it better than Longhorn?

Good question. OS X's strongest points are:

1) Full UNIX goodness, available on LH via cygwin and Unix Services but it's very nice to have your platform provider actually committed to the open-source world rather than fighting it at every turn. php, perl, apache, mysql, ruby, python and other gnu-license stuff all works and works well, out of the box.

2) More mature accelerated compositing window server w/ backing store for every window. Apple got this in in 2002, while MS is still working out the bugs.

3) Java is a first-class citizen and Apple works to get it integrated as best as they can

4) Apple is an active member of the OpenGL consortium and works closely with ATI and NVIDIA to get the best cross-platform graphics API into the system (Apple also has OpenAL now in the system as of 10.4)

5) AppKit (levering Objective-C) is a very mature framework dating back from ~1990 and most people think it is pretty good. WinFX and C# are clearly inspired by Sun's Java stuff, yet Java is more or less a ripoff of Apple's Objective-C, so from appearances Microsoft is using a knockoff of a knockoff for its centerpiece API. Plus WinFX is just the 00's version of MFC, there's apparently still Win32 lurking underneath the OO-ness.

6) 10.4 is shipping now. Longhorn may or may not ship before Apple ships x86 machines.

But then I've always missed "the Mac experience". The silly mouse on Macs is enough to reduce my productivity

? You do know that the system supports any USB mouse you could care to connect, right? Scroll wheels work as expected, context menus are available for many things...

Microsoft is scary-smart

Microsoft has more income than god playing Monopoly in god-mode.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:19 AM on June 11, 2005


I remember reading that Bill Gates loved playing monopoly when he was younger against his family and was very competative. He hated to lose.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall if he lost playing god in god-mode.
posted by futureproof at 3:49 AM on June 11, 2005


Cytherea: Xen is interesting, I hadn't seen that before - thanks for pointing it out.

But unless I'm missing something, Xen seems to stress isolation and separation of Virtual Machines; indeed from their FAQ "...Firstly, virtual machines must be isolated from one another: it is not acceptable for the execution of one to adversely affect the performance of another...".

No doubt neat stuff, but I want what could best be described as a MetaOS, which will simultaneously run an arbitrary number of Operating Systems and allow complete sharing of both physical and logical (i.e., data) resources.

Click on a file and the required tool is launched. If the OS needs to be initiated, it is. Transparently to the end user.

Then we can use the best tool for the job, and not worry about what platform we have to acquire and which OS we need to get it done.

Operating Systems just get in the way.
posted by Mutant at 4:42 AM on June 11, 2005


Mutant, that sounds a little like the Taligent Pink effort. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish'd.
posted by alumshubby at 5:40 AM on June 11, 2005


Mutant, that sounds like the begining of a business plan. Find some venture capital and get to it.
posted by jmgorman at 6:45 AM on June 11, 2005


bobbyelliot writes : But then I've always missed "the Mac experience". The silly mouse on Macs is enough to reduce my productivity so significantly that it makes a Mac an automatic no-no.

I know exactly what you're talking about. The MacIntoshs' big advantage was always supposed to be its "superior usability." However, I have never seen what is so incredibly usable about a dropdown menu that never goes away and a crappy one-button mouse.

What I like about OS X / Mac is that it represents the first (in my mind) truly successful implementation of a GUI Unix environment. For that, Apple should be applauded.

Either way, the OS wars will be moot five years from now, once everything totally is decentralized and net-based.
posted by afroblanca at 7:12 AM on June 11, 2005


Attention! Macs have USB ports and Bluetooth capability just like PCS -- there is no reason to use the one-button mouse! My god. I don't participate in OS wars because I think it's a really ridiculous thing to get so angry about, but when people use the "one-button mouse" as a reason that they won't use Macs, it just smacks of ignorance.
posted by trey at 8:18 AM on June 11, 2005


bobbyelliott writes "The silly mouse on Macs is enough to reduce my productivity so significantly that it makes a Mac an automatic no-no."

Wow. That's a really stupid observation. Please don't try and tell us that you've actually thought that one through.
posted by clevershark at 8:31 AM on June 11, 2005


Either way, the OS wars will be moot five years from now, once everything totally is decentralized and net-based.
posted by afroblanca at 10:12 AM EST on June 11 [!]


That's the same thing someone told me at work in 1996. I'm not saying it won't happen but I question the time frame.

Click on a file and the required tool is launched. If the OS needs to be initiated, it is. Transparently to the end user.
posted by Mutant at 7:42 AM EST on June 11 [!]


What have you been smoking?

Not snarking at either of you. I just marvel at your optimism.

Re, the Mac mouse, I see that has been addressed.
posted by a_day_late at 10:14 AM on June 11, 2005


I'll buy this. I was saying something similar just tonight. Intel could well be interested in leaving Microsoft and conquering AMD at a swoop. Why not? OS X would be free if Intel bought Apple, and they can more than afford $500m of R&D a year to keep it current. Sod Apple's "devotion", it makes sound business sense, will make the shareholders rich and free up Jobs to take Disney.
Why would Intel be interested in leaving Microsoft? The relationship is incredibly valuable, and whatever pain it causes them pays off in the huge revenue and profit they reap from being part of the defacto standard.

AMD is a worry to Intel, since they are good enough to remove some of Intel's pricing power, but I don't see how buying Apple changes that. They are still going to need a healthy business in the Windows market. It's not like MacOS market share will suddenly grow 50-100x just because Intel is behind them.

The idea that Intel doing this deal with Apple is already a major strain on its relationship not far removed from the strain imposed by actually acquiring them strikes me as misguided. Look at Intel and Microsoft's relationship as a marriage that has endured many trials and will endure many more. It could fall apart at some point, but it's not going to be because Intel smiles at a younger woman (Apple, and don't forget their long term support of Linux). On the other hand, buying Apple would be a bit like Intel telling Microsoft it wants to take a second wife.

And it wouldn't just be Microsoft that had a problem with it, it would be all their common friends. How is Dell (or HP, etc) going to react if Intel becomes a system vendor? Rather than squashing AMD, it would likely drive Dell to consummate their long flirtation with AMD (formerly engaged in solely to keep Intel attentive by stirring its jealousy).

Apple is much more valuable to Intel as a partner than an acquisition. As a partner, it gives them a small but useful lever in their relationship with Microsoft and with box sellers like Dell. As one example, Apple, with its vertical integration and shorter software product cycles, can deliver support for new Intel hardware features (like new multimedia enhancements) faster than Microsoft & PC makers, which is good for Intel both because it gets them ROI on their investment in new tech sooner, and because it gives MS/Dell incentive to move more quickly.
posted by Good Brain at 10:28 AM on June 11, 2005


OS X's strongest points are:

and in English?
posted by mr.marx at 11:13 AM on June 11, 2005


Why would Intel be interested in leaving Microsoft? ... How is Dell (or HP, etc) going to react

Intel and Microsoft were traditionally bedfellows because Microsoft needed new PCs to drive its growth, and Intel needed ever-more intensive software to drive chip sales. AMD means that Intel is no longer integral to the PC industry, and with Microsoft choosing PowerPC for the XBox, they're no part of Microsoft's great home-based hope to continue their growth. There is no longer any inherent value in the relationship beyond inertia.

It's not so much about why would Intel leave Microsoft, it's what leverage does Microsoft have to keep them now that Intel's pissed? Basically none: there's no other conceivable platform Microsoft could threaten to take Windows to, the XBox 360 is a done deal, and Microsoft can't shut out AMD for them because that's plain illegal.

Moreover, if Intel owned its own operating system, one that was quantifiably better than Windows, but also allowed existing Windows apps to run (assuming a native widget version of Wine or similar) then it could leverage itself back into position as the crucial factor in the PC industry.

As for Dell, HP etc, what do you think they're going to say when they're offered a desirable operating system for minimal or no cost? "Bye, Microsoft, bye AMD" is what they're going to say. Like I said, Intel can more than afford to continue developing OS X out of its pocket change. And give it away to OEMs and its big customers, as long as they adhere to a specific intel hardware platform, doubtless including Intel Bios.

Look at Microsoft and Intel as a marriage that stayed together for the children. Those kids are all at college now.
posted by bonaldi at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2005


Or Intel could spend a few million comming up with a really sold GUI for linux, which would have just as much benifit to intel.

This is just really goofy speculation. The other day Cringly was speculating that the Xbox 360 was microsoft's way of getting into the home and crushing all their own OEMs.

Except the origional Xbox could have done the same thing.
posted by delmoi at 12:03 PM on June 11, 2005


Click on a file and the required tool is launched. If the OS needs to be initiated, it is. Transparently to the end user.
posted by Mutant at 7:42 AM EST on June 11 [!]

What have you been smoking?

Not snarking at either of you. I just marvel at your optimism.
posted by a_day_late at 1:14 PM EST on June 11 [!]


It's easy to run a fairly large number of Windows applications under wine--which you'll be able to do with OS Xi.

So you can, sort of, in a limited way.
posted by cytherea at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2005


mullacc: it's not illegal for Apple and Intel to be secretly discussing an acquisition - but for Apple to change it's public product roadmap based on such a secret discussion would be, as I understand it.

I am no expert on this stuff but I do have some personal experience - a couple of years back I was part of the team that worked on planning the integration between two large software companies. Between the announcement of the acquisition and the completion it was made very clear that legally all we could do was plan, and that we absolutely could not act on the plans until the acquisition was complete.

I don't know if the same restriction applies if a formal announcement of the acquisition has not been made, but logically that would make sense - and surely any such action would fall foul of the sorts of laws intended to prevent the creation of secret cartels.
posted by pascal at 12:49 PM on June 11, 2005


a_day_late :Click on a file and the required tool is launched. If the OS needs to be initiated, it is. Transparently to the end user.
posted by Mutant at 7:42 AM EST on June 11 [!]

What have you been smoking?


Gosh dude, when I built my first computer - a Z80 based Ferguson Big Board - back in 1979, point and click was just something my CompSci professors at University babbled on about. In class we smiled to each other and let them get on with their fantasies - after all, the command line ruled! Keep in mind, the predominant form of data entry in those days was the 5081 Unit Record, I'm sure you've heard of it - the punched card.

Point and click say wha?

Now I'm babbling on about something maybe better than point and click on a single OS.

So why does a MetaOS seem so incomprehensible? Since others (cytherea, alumshubby) have pointed out current efforts in this direction (thanks again folks - neat stuff), it looks far less remote now then point and click did way, way back in the CPM era.

My educational pursuits these days are more Finance and less Computer Science (sadly), but I still think this is the future of computer-as-appliance. No OS, just apps. Get on with the task.

Keep in mind once upon a time, if you drove a car, you had to be a mechanic. We're still very, very, very early in total lifespan of computers. Things are gonna change drastically in the next ten plus years, just as surely as they changed in the previous ten plus years.

Just look at the state of computing in 1995. I was working on a trading floor in New York and had a dual processor AIX box on my desk. The geeks came from far and wide to see it. These were very rare, very high end devices. I was a lucky geek indeed. Now I can zip down to the Apple Store here in London and purchase one off the shelf, a fast and largely anonymous transaction. Nothing special. That's progress. That's change.

As I opined previously, and it's just my opinion, Operating Systems just get in the way. Let's be done with them once and for all.
posted by Mutant at 1:52 PM on June 11, 2005


I think you're confusing terms, somewhat. Unless you think that each application should talk to the hardware directly. Shall we all reimpliment our own memory managers, task schedulers, I/O calls? How the fuck do you expect multitasking complicated systems to run without an OS? How would you tell the computer which piece of code you wanted it to execute next - whether it be web browser or IM app - if you didn't have an Operating System?

Do you mean a MetaAPI? Because with Wine under OS Xi (catchy, that), we'll have something like it: application binaries that just run, regardless of the OS they were designed for.

delmoi: I don't think it's money that's keeping a decent GUI from Linux. Didn't Sun spend a ton in that direction? And there's more to OS X than just a replacement for X Windows.
posted by bonaldi at 2:49 PM on June 11, 2005


bonaldi: Sorry, I am confusing things a little. I want an OS that can run other OS's, starting them up as needed, shutting them down as needed, and I don't know about it nor do I have to know about it. Unless I'd like to know about it (Geeky Fun!).

What I've got in mind is sorta like VPC on the Mac, but a layer below. I want Windows running at the same hardware level as OS X, both under the control of the MetaOS.

I want some kind of Control Program that will automatically and transparently start an Operating System when I want to use a file, I don't want to know about the OS, I don't want to know if it's running, if it's not running, etc.

I'm a user. I want to manipulate the data in that file. Period.

If I need Windows to do this because the app is indigenous to Windows, fine. If I need OS X to do this, if I need Linux or NextSTEP or BeOS or what ever, I don't care. I just don't want to have to keep another box in my flat so I can run some oddball application. One box. All Operating Systems. All applications.

And all Operating Systems and all Applications running under those Operating Systems can see any and all data / hardware resources that the other OSs can. Unless I chose to restrict them (see Geeky Fun!).

I - like most other folks - use applications. I really don't care what OS I'm using as long as the apps run. But the current "state of the art" requires me to know what hardware I own. What OS I'm running. What version it's at. What patch level I've applied. What applications I've purchased or downloaded that can run under that OS on that hardware. I think that sucks.

I'm a farm boy and once upon a time could wax eloquent about the difference between GM and Ford in terms of points and condensers (And Farm Gurls surley loved that shit!). I did all my own auto work, rebuilding engines and everything. Once upon a time. Now I don't care - cars just work and I don't think (much) about points and condensers.

I want Operating Systems to disappear also. It's time for them to go. Let's use Applications and not computers.
posted by Mutant at 3:31 PM on June 11, 2005


I want Operating Systems to disappear also. It's time for them to go. Let's use Applications and not computers.

That's cool. I can get behind that, but I am not sure that's going to happen anytime soon. Wine seems like a nice idea but let's see it, or something like it, in heavy duty operation first (i.e. mainstream).

Disclaimer: I am someone who has used a computer since 1988 but knows very little about how computers actually work. I think that I am the sort or person that has to get excited about stuff like this in order for it to gain in popularity. There are a lot of techies here on mefi that get excited about technology because they enjoy the challenge of mastering it. Nothing wrong with that but most people, including me, don't. Like you, I want to run applications that I find useful with the least amount of fussing, maintenance, bug fixes, etc.
posted by a_day_late at 4:17 PM on June 11, 2005


I DON'T want operating systems to merge. I value very highly consistency in interfaces. OS X is already (though a vast improvement in general over OS 9) less consistent in it's UI from application to application, even if you just consider Apple's own applications.

For example, I depend on F2, F3, & F4 for copy/cut/paste because I've used dvorak keyboard layout for years but have never ever gotten around to buying keyboards with dvorak key labels. So I don't know where the keys are unless I close my eyes and pretend I'm typing something. Plus copy & paste require both hands on dvorak, using the regular keys. Well, F2/F3/F4 used to work in all applications everywhere -- now despite having set up various keybindings files, they don't work everywhere, wasting little bits of my time here and there all day long.

I dread the day everything becomes a hodge podge and I have to try to remember a bazillion different ways of doing things in different applications.
posted by lastobelus at 9:21 AM on June 12, 2005


Compilers are way way way easier to write and optimize on Intel. Also things like JVMs.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:25 PM on June 12, 2005


the first effects of which will be seen in the very impressive Microsoft Shell (msh/Monad)

Monad's been dropped from Longhorn along with most everything else.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:59 PM on June 12, 2005


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