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HP, Microsoft to take on Apple's iPad and each other at CES

post #1 of 33
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Just like last year's Consumer Electronics Show, HP and Microsoft will be showing off their latest tablet competitors to Apple's iPad. This year however, the two PC partners will be tablet rivals.

According to a report by Fox News, HP will be showing off its new PalmPad at this year's CES, running a version of the webOS acquired from Palm last fall.

HP's PalmPad will reportedly be offered in a variety of configurations that are "collectively a spin-off of the never-released HP Slate," the report states. HP's Slate PC running Windows 7, shown last year in partnership with Microsoft, was actually released this fall, but only to business customers. It had a very limited production run believed to be less than 9,000 total units.

The report says HP's new hardware will "run on Sprint's fast 4G network, but otherwise it has hardware specs nearly identical to Apples iPad." It also states the new HP tablet will be thinner than the iPad, weigh less (1.25 lbs compared to the iPad at 1.5 or 1.6lbs), have a USB 3.0 port and front and rear facing cameras, both with LED flashes.

It's unclear from the report what the screen sizes of the three PalmPad units expected to be shown at CES will be, but a fourth model intended for universities is said to have an 8.9 inch screen and "any other specs specifically requested by the institution." The report speculates that the other versions will "probably" offer screens "nearly identical to the 9.7 inch LCD on the iPad."

HP takes on the tablet solo with Palm software

The report noted that HP's chief executive Todd Bradley earlier stated in the company's August conference call, "you'll see us with a Microsoft product out in the near future and a webOS-based product in early 2011." HP delivered its $799 Slate PC running Windows 7 in October, just months after Bradley's comments.

While it didn't sell well, it featured an 8.9 inch screen, weighed 1.5 lbs, and uses an Atom processor, a low power version of Intel's x86 CPU family. It is unlikely that HP would deliver a substantially different hardware design for the PalmPad just three months later, given that it took the company ten months to bring the Slate PC to market after first showing it at CES.

The images Fox printed of PalmPad depict it as being nearly identical to the existing Slate PC, making it hard to understand how it could be thinner than the iPad while also significantly lighter without having very little battery capacity. The graphic also refers to the "HP palmPad Dock," indicating HP will be using the Palm branding, but will stylize it in lower case, similar to how Palm branded its webOS.



On page 2 of 2: Microsoft takes on tablets without HP, and perhaps Intel, Atom and ARM, CES Showdown.

Microsoft takes on tablets without HP, and perhaps Intel

With HP, the largest PC maker, charting its own webOS tablet strategy independent of Microsoft and Dell, the second largest, pursuing Android-based solutions with its 7 inch Streak tablet device, Microsoft is rumored to be showing "a version of its Windows operating system" running on mobile devices using the ARM architecture, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The report, attributed to "people who asked not to be identified because Microsofts plans are confidential," said the move "would give Microsoft another way to attack the market for tablets and phones, where its lost ground to Apple Inc. and Google Inc."

The report says "new software will also work on Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. processors -- the chips that power current personal-computer versions of Windows," indicating that this "version of Windows" is not simply the Windows CE based operating system that Microsoft has long been using in its mobile devices including PlaysForSure media players, Windows Mobile phones, the Zune HD, the short-lived KIN, and the recent new crop of Windows Phone 7 offerings.

These devices already use ARM processors, and the Windows CE kernel has supported devices using ARM chips and x86 CPUs from Intel and AMD (and originally PowerPC processors) since the mid 90s. The only way Bloomberg's report could be accurate and newsworthy is if Microsoft were actually porting Windows 7 to ARM chips, which would be both a significant undertaking and an indication of a lack of confidence in Intel's mobile processor offerings in comparison to ARM chips, which currently offer better performance and efficiency but are not capable of running Windows 7.

Update: According to a parallel report by the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft "will discuss the software at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, though it isn't expected to be available for two years."

Atom and ARM

Apple was rumored to be evaluating Intel's Atom processor family, originally known as Silverthone, in late 2007 for both tablet products and possibly new smartphone designs. Instead, Apple continued using ARM CPUs, eventually developing its own custom version branded the A4, which is used in both the iPad and iPhone 4. Apple later even redesigned Apple TV to use the A4 rather than the low power x86 chip the original versions had been using.

The HP Slate PC Microsoft demonstrated earlier this year at CES just weeks before Apple's iPad was unveiled ended up slow, thick and inefficient in large part because it used a standard Atom CPU rather than a smaller, more efficient ARM processor. However, HP had no choice because the desktop-oriented Windows 7 only runs on x86-compatible CPUs, while Microsoft's Windows CE based operating systems (running the Zune, KIN, and WP7) are not offered in a version capable of running a desirable tablet.

CPU portability

The last time Microsoft attempted to deliver a portable version of its desktop OS was in Windows NT 4, which ran on x86, PowerPC, MIPS and DEC Alpha CPUs and later added support for Intel's Itanium server processor. All non-Intel ports of Windows NT were abandoned in 2000, and today's Windows 7 only supports the PC standard x64 CPUs and Itanium servers, with no binary software compatibility between the two processor architectures nor any packaging system for distributing multiple-binary software.

Apple's Mac OS X is based upon NeXTSTEP, which like Windows NT 4 a decade after it, could also run on multiple CPU architectures. Apple similarly abandoned cross platform functionality as a feature of Mac OS X when it released the software as PowerPC only in 2001. However, Apple maintained a secret x86 port that it later used to rapidly transition its Mac lineup from PowerPC to Intel x86 processors in 2006. In 2007, Apple also released a mobile version of its operating system running on ARM CPUs, which it later branded iOS.

Apple achieves multiple binary support across platforms in Mac OS X by using Universal Binaries, which package code optimized for different CPUs in what appears to be a single file, making it easy to distribute software for both PowerPC and Intel chips, and both 32 and 64-bit versions of that code, without requiring users to obtain and install the specific version they need. Combined with other aspects of the OS, this provides Apple with tremendous flexibility in using whatever chips are best.

Microsoft's desktop Windows 7 operating system, and all software designed for the platform, is inherently tied to details of the x86 processor family, with even 32 and 64-bit versions requiring a different operating system version and bit-specific software. This has limited the company's tablet and netbook aspirations to hardware using Intel's relatively new Atom processor family, which is simply not competitive with existing ARM processors in efficiency and performance.

CES Showdown

In addition to HP's webOS PalmPad and Microsoft's latest Windows 7 tablet announcements, CES is also expected to preview Motorola's new tablet running Android 3.0 Honeycomb and RIM's PlayBook running a custom new OS proprietary to RIM, in addition to existing Android 2.x tablets such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Dell's Streak.

The variety of different iPad alternatives promises to fracture the competitive pressure facing the iPad, allowing Apple to focus attention on the established iOS App Store, its mature development frameworks and support for enterprise requirements, and its installed base of iOS and iPad users and developers.

Apple is also expected to refresh the iPad next spring as well, although it is known the company has no interest in attending CES. Two years ago, when Apple announced it was pulling out of Macworld Expo, it explained that it was "reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers."

The company's press release noted, "the increasing popularity of Apples Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.

"Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris," the company added.

Apple hasn't attended general electronics conferences like CES in recent memory, preferring instead to set up its own events or issue press releases that appear aimed at overshadowing the event, as it did in 2007 with the iPhone. This year, Apple has announced it will be debuting the Mac App Store the day after Microsoft's Steve Ballmer opens CES with his keynote speech.
post #2 of 33
BRING IT!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #3 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

This year, Apple has announced it will be debuting the Mac App Store the day after Microsoft's Steve Ballmer opens CES with his keynote speech.

I bet I know what Ballmer and crew will be showcasing next year at the CES... The Windows7 App Store!

Ballmer, Jobs has given you your marching orders!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #4 of 33
Strike 2!
post #5 of 33
Apple has roughly a 95.5% share of the pad computer market now. So it's inevitable that the wannabes will try to get on that bandwagon. Good luck with that.

Apple isn't just taking the lion's share of profits in the pad computing space. Apple is also literally causing competitors to waste money developing and advertising bad copies of iPad. And if Ballmer does the same tired old "It's called Windows" tap dance at CES, he's going to get boo-ed off the stage.

He might get boo-ed off the stage even if he does the new "It's called Windows Mobile 7" tap dance. You can only leverage successes Ballmer. And Microsoft's successes are very few and very far between these days.

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post #6 of 33
In a very real sense, it will be HP vs. HP. HP will be in a death-match against itself. In the real world, we call that suicide.
Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
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Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
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post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


The report says HP's new hardware will "run on Sprint's fast 4G network, but otherwise it has hardware specs nearly identical to Apples iPad." It also states the new HP tablet will be thinner than the iPad, weigh less (1.25 lbs compared to the iPad at 1.5 or 1.6lbs), have a USB 3.0 port and front and rear facing cameras, both with LED flashes.

You can have hardware equal to, or in addition of, the iPad, but that is not the only thing that makes a great tablet. It will be interesting to see if HP has something in the software and apps departments that will help this sell. Of course, it doesn't help when the iPad 2 is set to debut around the same time that the HP tablet is going on sale.

But what I really can't understand is Microsoft pushing Windows 7 (again) on a tablet. Is this Ballmer's doing? Is he really that stupid?
post #8 of 33
How can the same report offer up a precise weight yet not be able to indicate the size of the screen. After all, one would have to assume that the device in question would be lighter than the current iPad if it came with let's say a 7" screen.

And what good is there in matching the current iPad when it's pretty obvious to all that early next year Apple will release Version 2 that will be significantly more capable. If that's what the competition does, it will remain perpetually one step behind.
post #9 of 33
I don't know about the other guys. But Palm's WebOS really worked real well on the Palm Pre.

Don't think people really gave it much of a chance with the iPhone craze and all. But it is a really
solid OS. I think it should do better than RIM and Microsoft.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

But what I really can't understand is Microsoft pushing Windows 7 (again) on a tablet. Is this Ballmer's doing? Is he really that stupid?

In a word, yes.
Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
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Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
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post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by juandl View Post

I don't know about the other guys. But Palm's WebOS really worked real well on the Palm Pre.

Don't think people really gave it much of a chance with the iPhone craze and all. But it is a really
solid OS. I think it should do better than RIM and Microsoft.

If the Palm Pre didn't work out too well against the iPhone craze, what makes you thing the pPad will work out any better against the iPad craze?
Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
Reply
Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
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post #12 of 33
All I care about is that it be made of shiny, cheap black plastic.
post #13 of 33
This reminds me of a bit Craig Ferguson did a couple years ago on one of his opening monologues.

"You know ... it's the ZUNE! Microsoft is trying to destroy the Apple iPod's monopoly on the ... iPod market."

Seems like years later they're at the same game ... trying to destroy the iPad's control on the iPad market by ... copying the iPad.

If it didn't work with the iPod why would it work with the iPad ...?
post #14 of 33
HP hasn't delivered the Slate yet!! Getting one or two units out doesn't count.
I've had my order delayed 2 1/2 months now. I ordered two days after they started taking orders.
post #15 of 33
While the contenders fight among themselves Apple will watch from the sidelines. There will be a lot of buzz around the new pretenders and then talk will quickly turn back to the iPad (2).
post #16 of 33
USB3.0 on a tablet? Are you nuts????

USB3.0 adoption on desktops let alone laptops has been slow. USB3.0 hard drives? yeah there are some but they are still in early adopter phase. Putting USB3.0 on a tablet might be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Throw usb2 in there and cut the cost.
post #17 of 33
"Just like last year's Consumer Electronics Show, HP and Microsoft will be showing off their latest tablet competitors to Apple's iPad"...

Except for the fact that the iPad didn't even exist this time last year.
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #18 of 33
My first reaction was, 'yawn'. But keep in mind, these other companies have to develop something. Their shareholders might be upset at them throwing up a white flag. Problem in this market, is all theses other competitors can't just beat apple on price, like they do with other products. I just wonder who buys these other products. There is still an anti-apple sentiment out there. (although it's getting smaller) Mainly those windows IT people.
post #19 of 33
Yawn.
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

But what I really can't understand is Microsoft pushing Windows 7 (again) on a tablet. Is this Ballmer's doing? Is he really that stupid?

Tablets were a Gates personal pet project thing. Perhaps he's still kicking around...
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

If the Palm Pre didn't work out too well against the iPhone craze, what makes you thing the pPad will work out any better against the iPad craze?

To be fair, the Pre hardware S U C K E D which, one would hope HP can address.

Also it wasn't on the market long enough to get any kind of legs. Kind of like Fox canceling Firefly after playing the episodes out of order and changing the air times around a few times.
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Yawn.

Ditto
post #23 of 33
watching all these guys scramble to play catch up. People have been kicking around how to do a successful tablet for how many years now? And like .. they are going to cook something competitive up in a few months? Yeah. Right.
post #24 of 33
The problem with Microsoft is Windows. 30 seconds + loading time on my wife's notebook, one of the most complaint I heard all day. I bet she couldn't wait replacing it with something faster. If Apple & Goolge execute Lion & ChromeOS right I bet there'll be a great mass exodus in computer world starting next year.

For tablet, Windows 7 is just impossible.
post #25 of 33
Haven't you heard...? Great products just "design themselves". There is no real need to think these things through. :/

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

But what I really can't understand is Microsoft pushing Windows 7 (again) on a tablet. Is this Ballmer's doing? Is he really that stupid?

Ballmer is trying to convince shareholders that MS is not far behind. He is implying that Win7 was developed with tablets in mind and is a perfect OS for the platform. This of course is somewhat true, as even WinXP ran on "tablets", but these are not the same as the iPad.

I think Balmer is trying to buy time as a CEO, as his days are numbered. With HP moving to Palm OS and Dell to Android, MS is declining into irrelevance and he knows it.
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post #27 of 33
Quote:
The last time Microsoft attempted to deliver a portable version of its desktop OS was in Windows NT 4, which ran on x86, PowerPC, MIPS and DEC Alpha CPUs and later added support for Intel's Itanium server processor. All non-Intel ports of Windows NT were abandoned in 2000, and today's Windows 7 only supports the PC standard x64 CPUs and Itanium servers, with no binary software compatibility between the two processor architectures nor any packaging system for distributing multiple-binary software.

I don't recall Microsoft ever having been able to port NT to a big-endian architecture like PowerPC (maybe in the lab, halfway, but not commercially). I do remember that the HP PA-RISC architecture, which was originally big-endian got a special bit that switched it to little-endian with the goal that Windows NT could run on it.

For those who do not know, big-endian and little-endian are two fundamentally different memory layouts where the bytes that make up larger values (e.g. the bytes in a a 2-byte 16bit value) are in a different order. Mac OS X and NeXTSTEP before it are fully portable, not just in terms of CPU instructions (which is not so difficult) but also in memory access (which is). Ugly written system software that peeks and pokes around with bits, assuming it is either big or little endian, is not portable across that divide. Windows has been a prime example of that uglyness for a long time (though I do not know if Vista/7 have done away with that) What is ARM? Big- or little-endian?
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

I bet I know what Ballmer and crew will be showcasing next year at the CES... The Windows7 App Store!

Ballmer, Jobs has given you your marching orders!

No shit. It was leaked that Windows 8 was getting an App Store 6 or 7 months ago!

My guess is that it will be underwhelming though as they already have an App Store. The announcement will essentially amount to "we're adding some extra categories". Not very exciting.
post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by gctwnl View Post

I don't recall Microsoft ever having been able to port NT to a big-endian architecture like PowerPC (maybe in the lab, halfway, but not commercially). I do remember that the HP PA-RISC architecture, which was originally big-endian got a special bit that switched it to little-endian with the goal that Windows NT could run on it.

For those who do not know, big-endian and little-endian are two fundamentally different memory layouts where the bytes that make up larger values (e.g. the bytes in a a 2-byte 16bit value) are in a different order. Mac OS X and NeXTSTEP before it are fully portable, not just in terms of CPU instructions (which is not so difficult) but also in memory access (which is). Ugly written system software that peeks and pokes around with bits, assuming it is either big or little endian, is not portable across that divide. Windows has been a prime example of that uglyness for a long time (though I do not know if Vista/7 have done away with that) What is ARM? Big- or little-endian?

ARM is bi-endian:

http://www.arium.com/pdf/Endianness.pdf

I guess that means that they eat their hard-boiled eggs from the middle.
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post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Ballmer is trying to convince shareholders that MS is not far behind. He is implying that Win7 was developed with tablets in mind and is a perfect OS for the platform.

There is also something funny going on with his definitions of what Windows is. A while back someone asked him about their tablet strategy and he said "it will run Windows". Then he held up a WP7 and said something like "this is Windows, it's all Windows" where it's obviously not the same thing, and the distinction is critical.

I've had no idea of what his point was, or if he even had one. Perhaps it was something to do with shareholders.


Personally I think they should do two tablets. A consumer focused ARM/WP7 light weight device and a separate business focused x86/W7 or W7 embedded device (maybe even with an optional keyboard). Both could run the exact same applications off the same application store and could support any future architecturers since the code is all interpreted.

There is no way Microsoft will catch Apple in the consumer space whilst they let demands from business guide their tablet strategy.
post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

You can have hardware equal to, or in addition of, the iPad, but that is not the only thing that makes a great tablet. It will be interesting to see if HP has something in the software and apps departments that will help this sell. Of course, it doesn't help when the iPad 2 is set to debut around the same time that the HP tablet is going on sale.

But what I really can't understand is Microsoft pushing Windows 7 (again) on a tablet. Is this Ballmer's doing? Is he really that stupid?

Yes, Ballmer could be that stupid. He's not alone. Apparently the entire executive team keeps marching to the same drum beat, and what does that say about the board of directors?

This is standard large corporation incompetence. The company I work for is engaged in similar foolishness. They keep following a plan of denying funding to departments across the company. This looks great on paper for the bottom line with all the money they're 'saving'. The problem is, our teams can't develop the infrastructure and the next set of tools to be competitive on future contract bids, so what will happen is we'll lose our sources of income, consequently the cost cutting measures will kill the company.

Microsoft is doing the same old crap and expecting a successful result. One thing I guess they haven't realized is they can't illegally abuse a monopoly position here, so they'll need to pursue a different strategy - one of innovation, which might mean leaving Windows behind. I'm not sure they have the vision to do that. They might have the talent (if those haven't abandoned ship already), but it's hamstrung by management.
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by gctwnl View Post

I don't recall Microsoft ever having been able to port NT to a big-endian architecture like PowerPC (maybe in the lab, halfway, but not commercially). I do remember that the HP PA-RISC architecture, which was originally big-endian got a special bit that switched it to little-endian with the goal that Windows NT could run on it.

For those who do not know, big-endian and little-endian are two fundamentally different memory layouts where the bytes that make up larger values (e.g. the bytes in a a 2-byte 16bit value) are in a different order. Mac OS X and NeXTSTEP before it are fully portable, not just in terms of CPU instructions (which is not so difficult) but also in memory access (which is). Ugly written system software that peeks and pokes around with bits, assuming it is either big or little endian, is not portable across that divide. Windows has been a prime example of that uglyness for a long time (though I do not know if Vista/7 have done away with that) What is ARM? Big- or little-endian?

They sure did. One of the original intents was for it to be "portable" X86 was not nearly as intrenched as the standard then. It wasn't aimed at Apple machines but IBM units and wasn't around very long. Remember that NT4 was just MS's steal job of OS/2. IBM had an interest in the early development (If I recall correctly. MS was criticized at the time for its practice of having alternate hardware vendors foot the bill for the development costs for the alternate ports) and IBM futzed around with what they would actually do with PPC.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerPC

The result of these various requirements was the PowerPC (Performance Computing) specification.
When the first PowerPC products reached the market, they were met with enthusiasm. In addition to Apple, both IBM and the Motorola Computer Group offered systems built around the processors. Microsoft released Windows NT 3.51 for the architecture, which was used in Motorola's PowerPC servers, and Sun Microsystems offered a version of its Solaris OS. IBM ported its AIX Unix and planned a release of OS/2. Throughout the mid-1990s, PowerPC processors achieved benchmark test scores that matched or exceeded those of the fastest x86 CPUs.
Ultimately, demand for the new architecture on the desktop never truly materialized. Windows, OS/2 and Sun customers, faced with the lack of application software for the PowerPC, almost universally ignored the chip. The PowerPC versions of Solaris, OS/2, and Windows were discontinued after only a brief period on the market. Only on the Macintosh, due to Apple's persistence, did the PowerPC gain traction. To Apple, the performance of the PowerPC was a bright spot in the face of increased competition from Windows 95 and Windows NT-based PCs.
post #33 of 33
IBM diddled around too much and should have ported all its software and and made over its desktop line based on PPC. The CHRP platform wound up being a joke because nobody but Apple made use of it.

If they had promoted their own damn hardware, it might have developed into something beyond an academic exercise going nowhere in the market.
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