Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Best analysis on Apple's MacTel switch (OS X on x86, aka OS X86)

Apple shifts to Intel: what is all the fuss about? | The Register

The Register is improving. I have to add them back to my bloglines subscription. This is the best analysis I've read thus far on the OS X IBM -> Intel switch (My preferred name: OS X86). The conclusion is pretty upbeat. I think Apple will have a bad year for PowerBook and Tower sales, but some of that business will divert to iMac (if only they had a reassuring fix for the heating problem, but that's why they're going to Intel) and Mac Mini sales. I do expect their stock to take a serious hit, but they have money in the bank. It's not a happy move, but they didn't have much choice.

This commentary is pretty good too. The claim is that Apple will outsource almost all of its manufacturing to Intel, presumably retaining their design expertise and (of course) the OS. One wonders then if Apple will allow Intel to sell Apple's sophisticated designs as Windows machines -- for a price of course. Such machines would emulate Apple's 'stealth' strategy, if purchased via Intel there might be an option to 'switch' the buyers with a second sell of the OS. I think it very unlikely, however, that Apple would allow any old PC vendor to run OS X. They'll have lots of ways to prevent that from happening.

Update: My own thoughts: ... and one Palladium to rule them.

I've posted previously about Intel's Palladium and DRM. Palladium binds a computer's identity to all of its transactions [1], and allows enforcement of very powerful Digital Rights Management. There exists a possible American and Chinese future in which it's quite legal to own a machine gun (a pathetic toy really, good only for killing a few people) but utterly illegal to own a non-Palladium computer. Palladium is where Homeland Security (security), Corporate America (security), healtchare industries (security) and Hollywood (entertainment) agree completely; it will be mandated one day for all corporate and governmental computer purchases. It will be required, eventually, for iTunes like distribution of high-definition movies and entertainment.

All of them. Intel owns Palladium. It could be forced to share it, but for now they control it.

Palladium, under some other name, is the future.

Ultimately, I think this decision is really about Palladium.

It will be interesting to see what Cringely writes.

[1] Binding a person to the transactions is more challenging. Palladium technology could be used to mandate biometric identification, but that's a weaker link.

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