Is the switch to Intel one of Steve Jobs' best business decisions of his life?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
When the switch to Intel was announced last year, I started a poll/thread entitled "Is the switch to Intel Jobs' worst business decision of his life?" A significant percentage - 19%, said yes. In addition, there were quite a few who voted "no" but still weren't all that thrilled about it.



Now that the whole line of Macs has been switched over to Intel, I thought it would be interesting to find out how everyone thinks the switch has gone. Has it been, from a business perspective, better than you expected? What about from a technical perspective?



Personally, I have been amazed at how well the process has gone. There have been plenty of niggles, but I was surprised at the lack of severe sales dip before the Intel machines came out, and the smoothness of the software transition.



From a technical perspective, the new Intel chips are much better than I expected, but on the portable side are not quite where I'd like them to be (power consumption is still too high, although performance is through the roof). I firmly believe that a dual-core 65 nm PPC chip would pulverise a Merom, but that's a moot point because no-one makes them. Hopefully Merom in conjunction with Santa Rosa will help to deliver better battery life and lower heat levels to the laptop space and then everything will be perfect.



Overall, I'd say that 1.) What I thought at the time of the switch was wrong and 2.) Apple switched to Intel at just the right time.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    It wasn't a brilliant business decision, it was the moment Apple stopped putting terrible processors in their machines and started giving their users good performance.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    I thought the decision to get into the music player business with the iPod was a pretty good one myself...



    I think the question should be restated, "Is it the best business decision?" Of course it was a good one, but not the best.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,724member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Placebo


    It wasn't a brilliant business decision, it was the moment Apple stopped putting terrible processors in their machines and started giving their users good performance.



    The PPC processors were absolutely not terrible. A G5 could kick the crap out of a P IV with vectorised code. The PPC platform as a whole had significant problems due to lack of decent compilers and lack of optimisation - many programs where simply poorly ported from x86.



    A good example is Microsoft Excel performance - On a PowerMac G4, the Windows version of Excel running inside Virtual PC is significantly faster than the native OS X version!
  • Reply 4 of 18
    auroraaurora Posts: 1,142member
    He had to do something, you cant sell people new machines if the speed they were last year is the same speed they are now. This was a major reason while Macs were used so long because G4 & G5 progress was less then a snails pace. No reason to upgrade that 2.0 G5 iMac if next years is a 2.1 G5 G4 was just frozen year after year after year. Heck Intel's core Duo's have had more progress in 6 months then G5 had in 21/2 years. Sure it was a good decision and the numbers proove it. Now If Jobs can just make a Consumer tower
  • Reply 5 of 18
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    The best business decision of Steve Jobs life was buying Pixar. Nothing he did at apple can quite compare to a 40,000% return.
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by e1618978


    The best business decision of Steve Jobs life was buying Pixar. Nothing he did at apple can quite compare to a 40,000% return.



  • Reply 7 of 18
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,219moderator
    It depends how you define 'best'. It's not a universal term. The ipod/ITMS and Pixar decisions don't really affect me personally. What affects me is having a unix system with a good GUI and being able to run Windows apps. I just wish the OS X and Intel switches happened at the same time so we wouldn't have to deal with two sets of updates.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    edit

    deleted post
  • Reply 9 of 18
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by e1618978


    The best business decision of Steve Jobs life was buying Pixar. Nothing he did at apple can quite compare to a 40,000% return.



    We have a winner.



    The move to Intel was a good decision though.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    being able to bootcamp windows is fantastic, however I think products like Parallels being able to make use of the virtualization feature in intel chips is a bigger deal since we can run windows at nearly full speed.



    I fully expect this to be even bigger when Leopard comes out and wouldn't be surprised if Apple bought parallels or did something very similar with 3D windows support right in OS X.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H


    I firmly believe that a dual-core 65 nm PPC chip would pulverise a Merom, but that's a moot point because no-one makes them.



    PPC wasn't a techinical failure but a product developement failure IMO.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,219moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sandau


    I fully expect this to be even bigger when Leopard comes out and wouldn't be surprised if Apple bought parallels or did something very similar with 3D windows support right in OS X.



    I'd like to see something like Crossover and Parallels together. Crossover can do 3D - I'm playing Half-Life 2 under OS X - but it lacks compatibility and uses a kind of reverse-engineered DirectX driver.



    Parallels has everything except the hardware acceleration and it's limited to the VM resources. If they could somehow patch the best bits of both together, it would be a great solution.



    I'm still waiting to see how Parallels pulls off the hardware acceleration they have been advertising.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    I said no, looking at the bigger picture I think the smartest business decision Steve ever made in his life was coming back to Apple. Yes, Pixar is doing well but Steve's real passion is Apple and I also believe that us users are better off because of his presence in the company.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lakingsfn


    I said no, looking at the bigger picture I think the smartest business decision Steve ever made in his life was coming back to Apple. Yes, Pixar is doing well but Steve's real passion is Apple and I also believe that us users are better off because of his presence in the company.



    I 100% agree! Steve is my homeboy. 8)
  • Reply 15 of 18
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    To me the switch to Intel processors and the move to Mac OS 10 were equally as important. Technically speaking we could not have done what we do with today?s processors with the architecture of Mac OS 9. Mac OS 10 is a very scalable operating system as proof has shown with the length of the development cycle of Mac OS 10 on Intel processors.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lakingsfn


    I said no, looking at the bigger picture I think the smartest business decision Steve ever made in his life was coming back to Apple. Yes, Pixar is doing well but Steve's real passion is Apple and I also believe that us users are better off because of his presence in the company.



    We aren't talking about Steve's "business love life", or the decision that he made that is best for you, but HIS best business decision. Buying Pixar is responsible for 99% of his personal net worth - it is his best business decision.



    If he had never re-joined Apple, he would still be a billionaire, but if he had never bought Pixar he would not.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by e1618978


    We aren't talking about Steve's "business love life", or the decision that he made that is best for you, but HIS best business decision. Buying Pixar is responsible for 99% of his personal net worth - it is his best business decision.



    If he had never re-joined Apple, he would still be a billionaire, but if he had never bought Pixar he would not.



    Not only that but his success at Pixar helped restore his credibility as a business leader. Doubt he could have come back to Apple without the success he had at Pixar.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H


    The PPC processors were absolutely not terrible. A G5 could kick the crap out of a P IV with vectorised code. The PPC platform as a whole had significant problems due to lack of decent compilers and lack of optimisation - many programs where simply poorly ported from x86.



    A good example is Microsoft Excel performance - On a PowerMac G4, the Windows version of Excel running inside Virtual PC is significantly faster than the native OS X version!



    The programmers had to optimize code for the PowerPC. In all but the most high end applications, the 4% marketshare didn't give incentive to do so. Most PPC Mac Programs were made just good enough to be workable. We can debate all day about the theoretical performance of the PowerPC, but Intel CPUs are the best bet for real world performance.
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