Analysts are staring at a clear area of doubt and uncertainty with news of Apple's move to Intel processors, but with investments to protect, they err toward caution, it appears.
The move, which has been rumored for several weeks, is seen as a blow to IBM Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc., which provide the PowerPC chips that Macs have used for 10 years.
The company previewed its Mac OS X Tiger running on an Intel-based Mac at WWDC during CEO Steve Jobs' keynote speech.
The move is being made because Intel has "the strongest processor road map by far," Jobs said.
Doubt and uncertainty - where's the talk show?
Responding, Wall Street's finest analysts called the move "risky" and "foolish."
"While we can see why moving to a dual architecture approach may bring some benefits, a wholesale move away from the IBM chips would be extremely foolish. Intel is not the 'de-facto leader in processor design' that it was a few years ago; in the recent past Intel has been out-innovated by both AMD (with a better approach to 64-bit computing) and IBM (with a better long-term strategy around multicore chips)," wrote Gary Barnett, Ovum research director in a research note sent by e-mail.
Steve Fortuna, senior IT hardware analyst at Prudential Equity Group LLC, said his firm believes that "by switching to a more mass- market processor, Apple likely risks diluting its value proposition as it has less control over the product road map. Apple also likely risks alienating its core loyalist base."