Apple might have dropped the PowerPC chip from its new line of Macs – and the word Power from the now renamed MacBook Pro – but IBM and Freescale Semiconductor have pledged to continue to promote and support the chip.
Acknowledging that the loss of Apple as a customer could be a "short term" public relations setback, executives from the two companies revealed that, now they don’t need to develop Power as a PC processor, they can concentrate on “more successful and strategic end markets,” according to an Information Week report.
Freescale chairman and CEO Michel Mayer said: “The loss of Apple allows us to free up resources that were tied up with competing with Intel on their home turf. We have many segments now in front of us where both the volume and innovation are more significant [than Apple]. It was not a good utilisation of our resources to continue to fight Intel."
Apple's business won't be a great loss, Mayer claims: "We are selling millions and millions of Power architecture processors in many segments across the world, and [Apple] was a tiny, tiny piece of the iceberg."
Playing the game
The companies has other areas of computing in mind, not least the gaming and supercomputer industries.
IBM senior VP of technology and intellectual property John E Kelly III explained: "The gaming industry is a good proof point for the Power architecture. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have all used the same fundamental architecture and created custom solutions with different operating systems and software stacks. We have shipped tens of millions of Power processors into the gaming industry."
Power is the basis of the Cell processor co-developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba.
Power is used in Microsoft's XBox 360. It will also power the PlayStation3 from Sony.
The Power processor can be found in half of the top 20 largest supercomputer installations in the world, and is currently used in the top three, according to Kelly.
According to Kelly the "computing and consumer electronics worlds are changing dramatically" and IMB and Freescale are responding to this change.
"We stood back and looked at what was going on with architectures in the 20th century versus what is happening in the 21st century, and it became very clear that the computing and consumer electronics worlds are not only coming together but changing dramatically," Kelly said.
"Innovation is no longer centred around the PC, and architectures need to expand out beyond that to supercomputers to automobiles. This is a major tipping point for the Power architecture."
The Power architecture was developed in the 1990s by IBM, Motorola Semiconductor (which later became Freescale), and Apple.