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ex-Apple CEO says they should've gone x86 in the 80's

Discussion in 'Intel' started by Yousuf Khan, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. Yousuf Khan

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    Yousuf Khan, Oct 9, 2003
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  2. Yousuf Khan

    Beemer Biker Guest

    Interesting, maybe another 10 years from now another ex-CEO will say "we
    should have made it an open system in the late 90's.
    Beemer Biker, Oct 9, 2003
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  3. Yousuf Khan

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    One can only wonder. In the late 80's, Intel was just introducing their
    first 32-bit processor, the 80386. But that was still just a scalar,
    one-instruction per cycle (at best) processor with no cache. At that time,
    the Mhz speed king was the Alpha, and most people rightly assumed that it
    would be the first to reach the 1Ghz speed rating. Little did they know that
    an x86 cloner, AMD, would be the first to 1Ghz; and that the whole x86
    market segment would be quickly undergoing revolutionary evolutions (now is
    that an ironic phrase, "revolutionary evolution"). Within one generation of
    the 386, they had the processors with FPU and caches onboard (486). Within
    two generations, they had superscalar processors (Pentium). All the while,
    all of this upgrade technology was being financed by the incredible volume
    of the previous generations.

    Yousuf Khan
    Yousuf Khan, Oct 10, 2003
  4. Yousuf Khan

    Tony Hill Guest

    I think you've got your dates off by a bit there. The 386 was
    released in 1985, while the Alpha didn't come out until 1992 as best
    as I can tell (though historical info about the Alpha has become a bit
    tough to come by). By the time the Alpha made it to market, the 486
    was already a pretty mature design and the Pentium was just around the

    Of course, in the mid-80s, RISC was definitely the design of the
    future, or so it would seem. The first commercial RISC chip was
    probably a MIPS chip, circa '86, though I'm sure that there are many
    other chips out there that claim to be the "first RISC chip" in one
    way or another.
    If it hadn't been for mass bungling and mismanagement at Digital,
    along with some pretty serious problems when it came to actually
    MAKING the processors instead of just designing them, Alpha would have
    been the first to reach 1GHz.
    Pretty much. It's tough for companies to compete against x86 when
    they have trouble reaching 1% of Intel's volume. AMD gets by with
    about 1/5th of Intel's volume, and they haven't exactly done well
    financially for some time now. Just think of how tough it has to be
    for companies like Sun who only manage to sell something on the order
    of 1 chip for every 10,000 that Intel sells. Even with dramatically
    higher costs (and therefore profit) per chip it becomes REAL tough to
    finance the development.
    Tony Hill, Oct 10, 2003
  5. Yousuf Khan

    lost Guest

    Apple would've done well to go into partnership with Acorn over the ARM CPU
    platform, but I doubt Acorn would've liked that very much. Acorn were like that.
    lost, Oct 10, 2003
  6. Sculley should have stayed at Pepsi!!:)

    Rgds, George Macdonald

    "Just because they're paranoid doesn't mean you're not psychotic" - Who, me??
    George Macdonald, Oct 10, 2003
  7. Yousuf Khan

    Tony Nelson Guest

    All that would have been needed to make the transition to x86 practical
    would have been an x86 processor that was a few times faster than any
    current or near-term 68K processor, so it could emulate the 68K
    processor with adequate speed. Otherwise, all existing Mac apps would
    have run uselessly slowly on the x86 Macs.

    Scully is famous for bad decisions, both business and technical. This
    would be another one. No one counted on AMD forcing Intel to make
    faster, cheaper processors 6 or 8 years down the road, not even Intel or

    Apple may still switch to x86. Without IBM's rescue, Apple might have
    already started. The Mac market isn't large enough to support processor
    development, and Apple killed off any other market for desktop PPC.

    It no longer matters, as all the things that made Macs worth using have
    been destroyed by the NeXTies, at the same time that MS has made Windows
    much better and nicer. It takes a real diehard to put up with throbbing
    buttons, drawers, and the *nix command line, to name a few.
    Tony Nelson, Oct 10, 2003
  8. Yousuf Khan

    Eric Gisin Guest

    The CPU was irrelevent. They choose an open CPU (PPC), but put it in a closed

    Apple has always used low cost CPUs in their entry level system. The problem
    prior to the iMac was the dozens of system designs. Even after they went with
    open interfaces and just four systems, they still cost more than comparable

    If Apple releases OSX for industry standard PCs, they will lose most of their
    hardware revenues. They may make it up if the can sell OSX for the price of
    Win 2k/XP Pro. They could get 10% market share this way.

    message | Apple's ex-CEO John Sculley said that they were evaluating
    | Intel-architecture in the late 80's, and decided that it couldn't keep
    | against RISC processors, so they went the RISC route. They didn't count on
    | the evolutionary process eventually putting x86 on a par with RISC:
    | http://makeashorterlink.com/?P5CC21826
    Eric Gisin, Oct 10, 2003
  9. Yousuf Khan

    Judd Guest

    Almost forgot that the AMD processor usurped the Pentium by a couple of days
    with an announced product that didn't even ship for weeks later. That's
    history for you. I'm not sure moving to the Intel platform would have made
    them a more profitable company. If Sun moved all of it's hardware to
    PC/AMD64, would it make more money?
    Judd, Oct 10, 2003
  10. Yousuf Khan

    Joe Pfeiffer Guest

    Why would that have been preferable to the PPC platform?
    Joe Pfeiffer, Oct 10, 2003
  11. Quite possibly.

    David Schwartz, Oct 10, 2003
  12. Yousuf Khan

    Alex Johnson Guest

    While I accept that Windows XP is much much better than all previous
    incarnations, it is far from simple or user friendly. Macs DO have
    windows beat hands down even with OS X, which I'd call a step back from
    traditional Mac OS designs.

    Read diehard, eh?
    Throbbing buttons: When events happen in a window that does not have
    focus, Windows throbs the task bar button.
    Drawers: How is this different from "folders"? Or "directories"?
    Different words from analogies with non-computer filing systems.
    Command line: Not only is it often faster AND easier AND more flexible
    to issue commands via a command line, but it is now mandatory for some
    commands in Windows XP. I found out this morning that winipcfg was
    removed from XP and you must use a command line version. From Win95 to
    Win2k I've used the gui version because it required just two clicks to
    release and renew, now it takes typing about 60 characters.

    Alex Johnson, Oct 10, 2003
  13. Yousuf Khan

    Alex Johnson Guest

    Maybe I don't get what you are trying to say. From the manufacturer's
    pages just now, OS X costs $129 while XP Pro costs $199 upgrade/$299
    full. If you want multiple licenses, OS X leaps way ahead in lower
    price. Either they sell at this price and probably take 10% market
    share, or they sell at the higher Windows price and take 1% market
    share. I don't see them raising their prices, even on commodity PCs,
    and beating down Microsoft. I'd love to see them try, but I just can't
    see it happening.

    Alex Johnson, Oct 10, 2003
  14. Yousuf Khan

    Will Dormann Guest

    Win2k does not come with Winipcfg. (nor does NT)

    Will Dormann, Oct 10, 2003
  15. Yousuf Khan

    Rob Stow Guest

    True enough - they have ipconfig.exe instead. ;-)
    Rob Stow, Oct 10, 2003
  16. Yousuf Khan

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    Are you talking about the Athlon or the Pentium @1Ghz? The Athlon was
    available in full force almost right away, the P3 on the other hand was
    available only on paper for several months. There a time when AMD was
    shipping 12 times as many 1Ghz+ processors than Intel.
    No, for Sun the issue is not about making more money, but about minimizing
    the hemoraging of their existing customer base to the low-end x86 world.
    It's basically fighting fire with fire. Sun is finally making some decisive
    noises about using Opteron servers now, after their latest record-breaking
    losses this past quarter. What they're finding now is that the x86 server
    market is encroaching into their low-end Sparc server market. Two processor
    Intels were good, and four processor Intels were acceptable performers,
    though they posed no threat at all in the 8P or higher realm. However, the
    Opterons are definitely going to pose a threat at the 2P and 4P level and
    may even be quite acceptable at the 8P level. This is irreversible, they
    can't make Sparcs any more economically than they are already making them
    right now, there simply isn't the volume, so cheapening the Sparcs isn't
    going to help them. So they will have to concentrate on moving their Sparcs
    even further into the higher end. The writing is on the wall for the
    Sparcs -- move higher or die.

    Yousuf Khan
    Yousuf Khan, Oct 10, 2003
  17. Yousuf Khan

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    You used Winipcfg in Win2K? Winipcfg was supposed to be only available in
    the Win9x/ME family of OSes. So with WinNT/2K/XP you should be using the
    command-line-based Ipconfig.

    Yousuf Khan
    Yousuf Khan, Oct 10, 2003
  18. Yousuf Khan

    Eric Gisin Guest

    There is a winipcfg download from MS..

    message |
    | You used Winipcfg in Win2K? Winipcfg was supposed to be only available in
    | the Win9x/ME family of OSes. So with WinNT/2K/XP you should be using the
    | command-line-based Ipconfig.
    | Yousuf Khan
    Eric Gisin, Oct 10, 2003
  19. Yousuf Khan

    Tony Hill Guest

    Apple broke compatibility when they switched from the 68K line to
    PowerPC anyway. It was simply that they felt that the design concepts
    coming from RISC chips and being implemented in the PowerPC would wipe
    the floor with that old CISC x86 design. Of course, these days AMD
    and Intel's x86 chips are looking somewhat RISC-ish, and PowerPC's
    instruction set is sufficiently large that it's tough to call it
    "reduced". In the RISC hey-day of the mid-80s, I don't think anyone
    would have thought that less than 15 years down the line the
    difference between "RISC" and "CISC" chips would be essentially
    With Win2K and now WinXP, Microsoft has moved forward a lot in terms
    of the useability of their desktop operating systems. However, they
    are not without their problems. Security continues to be a concern
    with Windows, and MS has made some rather, umm, *questionable* changes
    to their licenses. If you actually read the current standard MS EULA,
    it says a number of things that most users REALLY wouldn't agree with,
    like the fact that you're allowing MS to access your PC to modify the
    software at any time and for any reason, without your knowledge or
    further consent (agreeing to the EULA is considered sufficient
    consent). Not necessarily that MS would actually do this, but to
    install any new patches from MS you have to agree to let them do just
    Tony Hill, Oct 10, 2003
  20. Yousuf Khan

    Tony Hill Guest

    How in the hell could OS X be a step back from traditional MacOS?!?
    Old MacOS was a piss-poor operating system! It was like Win3.x,
    modified and patched all to hell to make it sorta, kinda work well.
    It was WAY behind the times technically speaking. Absolutely useless
    for anything but a desktop and lacking the sort of memory protection
    that all non-Win9x operating systems had.

    No, OS X is a HUGE step forward. It's the main reason why I consider
    Macs to be a viable platform again (the new PPC 970/G5 really helps in
    this regard to).
    All good operating systems should have both a powerful GUI and a
    powerful command line. There are simply some tasks that are easier to
    perform in one, while other tasks are easier to perform in the other.
    What I've seen of OS X suggests that Apple has it pretty much spot-on.
    WinXP still forces a bit too much to the GUI, while Linux tends to
    force a bit too much to the command line.

    Unfortunately with Macs you have dick-all in terms of choice when
    buying a new system and you pay a heck of a lot for even their
    cheapest box.
    Tony Hill, Oct 10, 2003
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