Apple as a processor developer
August 14, 2002 4:13PM
Future Apple Hardware
edited January 2014
Would apple have the resourses to buy out the PPC from moto and contiue the development? Would we benefit from apple made processors?
Reply 1 of 17
August 14, 2002 4:18PM
Cash resources, probably yes. Apple could buy the intellectual property they need for a good deal of money. Most likely, they could buy out Altivec and Moto would still have a liscensing to use it as well.
Personel resources to develop a PPC chip? No. Apple would have to buy out Moto's design teams, and while Moto doesn't want to develop good desktop PPC CPU's, they sure don't want to loose their design teams which also design their embedded PPC chips.
So the long answer is no.
Reply 2 of 17
August 14, 2002 4:20PM
Apple does not have the market share to warrent having a dedicated processor development team.
Reply 3 of 17
August 14, 2002 5:03PM
Does Apple have the resources to be a PPC developer? Yes. They will need to have a good relationship with a semiconductor manufacturer though.
Reply 4 of 17
August 14, 2002 5:07PM
They could by out the PPC assets then get IBM to build G4s...
Reply 5 of 17
August 14, 2002 5:24PM
[quote]Originally posted by firelark:
<strong>Would apple have the resourses to buy out the PPC from moto and contiue the development? Would we benefit from apple made processors?</strong><hr></blockquote>
In fact, a decent sized team from Motorola already works at Apple. They are regarded as on-site contractors, and for Apple themselves, they do have some well regarded microprocessor engineering talent employed by them.
As many have stated already, Apple would need to partner with a reliable manufacturer.
It has already been suggested that Apple contributes work to current PPC development. But the question is: Would Apple Benefit?
Unclear at this point, but much of the gossip I've been hearing from people in the know is that Apple intends to move more PPC work in-house.
Reply 6 of 17
August 14, 2002 5:33PM
[quote]Originally posted by JCG:
<strong>Apple does not have the market share to warrent having a dedicated processor development team.</strong><hr></blockquote>
and i suppose that neither do sun or sgi
Reply 7 of 17
August 14, 2002 5:34PM
Apple would not get the best PPC if they did all the design in house. Apple can benefit from being very involved with the design, but IBM can contribute much, like the power4 stuff going that new PPC. I believe it was designed in cooperation with Apple. Remenber, IBM worked with Ninetendo too. Each contributed to the final design. So Apple can benefit by having some processor design capability on site. They need it for custom chips too.
Reply 8 of 17
August 14, 2002 5:36PM
Does Apple really need to buy anything to make a chip?
They're one of the original developers of the PPC. Sure, it would probably be easier to just buy an already-established group like Motorola's, but AFAIK, there's no legal or other reason they HAVE to buy anything in order to build PPC chips.
I also don't think Altivec is an issue either. From what I understand, Mot doesn't own altivec - Apple or IBM could use the same set of instructions if they wanted.
I think the microprocessor forum will clear up that issue.
[ 08-14-2002: Message edited by: BRussell ]</p>
Reply 9 of 17
August 15, 2002 12:43AM
This is not a good idea. Many thoughts come to mind:
-How much more expensive will Apple's computers cost if they design the CPU also? The price is already high, this will make it more so.
-Do you honestly think Apple can compete with AMD, much less with Intel? Come on, these guys focus on chip design.
-As far as SUN and SGI: How expensive are their machines? SGI is on the way out, and Sun is finally waking up to the fact that they cannot compete on the low end without going to commodity (AMD) processors.
-Would you expect Dell to produce their own chips? Even HPaq is getting (for the most part) out of the business. Why should Apple get into this?
I think that this is a ONE solution to Apple's problem with Moto, but is not the best solution in the long run. So, in conclusion I would say to let the specialty companies design the chips, don't do it in house. But team up with a player with compatible goals as yourself.
Reply 10 of 17
August 15, 2002 2:01AM
"Apple does not have the market share to warrent having a dedicated processor development team."
Yup. And that completely explains G4.
Think back to the early 90s. Apple had a 10-15% marketshare. Add another potential 10-20% marketshare for NT/PPC taking sales from poor old CISC Intel and you've got your business plan for PowerPC.
Shame it didn't work out that way. Now, ot really doesn't matter who signs the paychecks: Moto, Apple, or IBM. It's damn tough to cost-justify the enormous expense of chip development for (part of) 4% of the market.
Reply 11 of 17
August 15, 2002 9:36AM
[quote]Originally posted by pesi:
and i suppose that neither do sun or sgi</strong><hr></blockquote>
I'm sure that Sun and SGI make more off every box sold, this structure keeps Porsche in buisness as well, even though Chevy's are cheaper. They also make money off of service contracts. I'm sure that there are other ways that they make money off the boxes that they sell, such as through software and hardware upgrades, but not having experience with these companies I dont know for sure. At any rate I dont think the companies have a common buisness model. Also keep in mind that as desktops become less expensive, and more powerfull they are eroding the market for both Sun and SGI workstations.
Reply 12 of 17
August 15, 2002 12:42PM
As to cost, something to think about.....
How many machines does Apple sell in an average year? (I really don't know the real numbers, if anybody does, please post 'em)
Let's say it's a million PowerMacs, and a million "others".
Assuming they use the same basic chip, and with the new PM line being all duals, that's 3 million chips all told (which, worldwide, strikes me as awfully low). Now, if MOTO charges $200 per, that's 600 million dollars saved. Factor in fab @ say 50%, and it's still 300 million dollars to invest in R&D. How much would you really need to put into it, especially if you're not doing your own fab? And not researching 15 different processors at once.
Now, what if IBM and Apple also agreed to a mutual sharing/licensing of new tech, with each side doing research in different directions (to avoid duplication). Picture what might happen then, with IBM and Apple each putting in this kinda cash, or more, as the market grows.
For this example, we're also ignoring the potential outside market for such chips, which could be reasonably lucrative.
Reply 13 of 17
August 15, 2002 12:53PM
Apple's best bet is to do a little of both. Start a group that is dedicated to chip design but that works hand in hand with a group at IBM (or Motorola). They can start out with a basic core and modify it to their needs and have a manufacturer fabricate it, be it IBM or any of the Taiwanese semiconductors. In fact the 64bit IBM chip may be a fruit of a similar labor. I wouldn't be surprises if there are Apple engineers working with IBM engineers on this.
Reply 14 of 17
August 15, 2002 6:09PM
[quote]Originally posted by Outsider:
<strong>Apple's best bet is to do a little of both. Start a group that is dedicated to chip design but that works hand in hand with a group at IBM (or Motorola). They can start out with a basic core and modify it to their needs and have a manufacturer fabricate it, be it IBM or any of the Taiwanese semiconductors. In fact the 64bit IBM chip may be a fruit of a similar labor. I wouldn't be surprises if there are Apple engineers working with IBM engineers on this.</strong><hr></blockquote>
You are correct, this is how Apple works with Moto and, I presume, IBM. I believe that this is the only way to insure that the CPU and board work well together, probably saves development time as well. If the new PM contract goes to IBM, or went to IBM
then Apple will be working with both of them. If there is a change of suppliers for the PMs don't look for such a change any time soon in the PB or iMac or iBook lines. It could/should take years to trickle new technology down into the consumer lines.
As for the question about how many computers does Apple sell a year look for about
Power Mac 590,000 for 9 months -14% y/y
PowerBook 299,000 for 9 months +4% y/y
iMac\t\t 983,000 for 9 months +7% y/y
iBook\t 495,000 for 9 months +43% y/y
You do the math to get the figure for the last 3 months.
Hey!! 43% jump in iBooks!!
Reply 15 of 17
August 15, 2002 6:24PM
It seems to me that apple has had people that work for apple helping to do some chip design for a least a year or two. can someone else help me out on this one.
Reply 16 of 17
August 16, 2002 12:05AM
[quote]Originally posted by Odenshaw:
<strong>It seems to me that apple has had people that work for apple helping to do some chip design for a least a year or two. can someone else help me out on this one.</strong><hr></blockquote>
I read somewhere that Apple was hiring CPU engineers a couple years ago. They might have done some work on the 64bit IBM PPC.
Reply 17 of 17
August 18, 2002 4:53AM
I think this may be true, yes, Apple are developing
processor, if you want name it in that way. Moto currently setup what they called 'new business model'. That is Moto sell their IP and delivery design service if you pay them. Apple can require modules to be incorporate into new PowerPC processor just like you want tailor-make your cloth. I just read article says that Moto finished a chip design in few weeks.This is a new trend in semicondutor industry.
But Moto now not responsible for the failure of chip development, it's all up to Apple now.