Forbes: Apple’s move to Intel could ‘drive loyal customers away from Mac platform’

“Mark your calendars. Today is the day that Apple Computer killed the Mac as we’ve known it,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for Forbes. “Today, Apple confirmed reports that it will shift away from using chips from IBM and Freescale Semiconductor. With the confirmation of the change, Apple is embarking on a transition that could well hurt its computer sales between now and 2007, frustrate software developers and ultimately drive loyal customers away from the platform.”

“‘Every time Apple tries to make a transition like this, many people simply decide it’s not worth the effort to try and keep up,’ says Nathan Brookwood, analyst with Insight64… More immediately, by announcing a transition that is going to take place during 2006 and into 2007, Apple can’t help but hurt its computer sales during the transition period. In its two most-recent quarters, Apple’s computer sales have accounted for about 46%,” Hesseldahl writes. “Since Mac users are habitual upgraders, many of its traditional customers will put off purchases until the new Intel-based systems are on the market. This wariness has happened during previous transitions on the Mac platform, when Apple was shifting away from its established Mac OS 9 platform toward the newer Mac OS X.”

Hesseldahl writes, “Apple certainly has the cash to withstand the hit to its sales over the course of a year. It had about $3 billion in cash and cash equivalents, plus another $2.5 billion in short-term investments at the end of the quarter ended March 26.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s the OS, stupid.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple to use Intel microprocessors beginning in 2006, all Macs to be Intel-based by end of 2007 – June 06, 2005


  1. Exactly, it’s the OS.

    While I would have preferred to see IBM advance the PowerPC fast enough to have prevented the Big Switch from happening, IBM just doesn’t have the passion for Apple anymore. Their PPC business is established now with both Xbox and PS3 under their belts, and they don’t need Apple anymore.

    But come on, me swtich to Windows XP or Longhorn because Macs are going to use Intel chips in the future? Ridiculous! I use Macs because 90% of what makes them great is because of the OS.

    And as long as Apple continues to make the best, sleekest hardware out there and maybe even at better prices, I’m there.

    Did anyone note the press conference where Phil Schiller confirmed that OS X would run only on Apple Macs? What’s interesting is that it was also confirmed that Windows would probably be able to run on the Intel Macs.

    Does anyone see how vulnerable this makes Dell all of the sudden? Apple will suddenly, in one stroke, produce a dual-boot Mac that offers a clean transition out of the Wintel nightmare.

  2. It’s the cost/efficiency, stupid.

    Seriously. I just got roughly $3,500 worth of Apple hardware that I’m now planning to return because my top-of-the-line iMac G5? Yeah, that’s gonna be worthless in a year. I don’t particularly care if Apple is planning to support G5s and G4s (I also got a Powerbook) for a year; what DEVELOPERS are going to waste their time coding for a dead processor architecture when within 2 years, every new Mac sold will be on x86?

    Granted, I don’t actually know what Intel has in store in the next few years, but I can’t imagine that software developers for things that *I* really care about are going to break their backs to support “legacy” hardware.

  3. Maybe Apple has realized that Hardware is competitive and that margins are getting increasingly competed away … but software is a great business … especially if OSX can be installed instead of windows xp.

    Alternatively this will also open up the door to licensing OSX to quality manufacturers like Sony and HP.

    Whatever … it is a short term pain, agreed, but in the long term might turn out to be the best choice they can make.

  4. With this article it’s official, this will be a huge success!

    The more I hear the details the more I agree with Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe, “What took you so long?”

  5. It’s the future stupid. Why invest in a company that suddenly decides that the best computers it can make are mee-too computers that use the same chips every other computer company uses. Sure they come in pretty boxes, but up until today, those pretty boxes housed the best hardware and software money could buy. In 2 years your money on an apple box will get you pretty boxes and a platform that may be as good as LINUX will be in 2 years, only hundreds to thousands more expensive.

    Whatever happened to that 64 bit future. x86 isn’t 64 bit yet, and has no plans to be in the near future. Steve if you had to go anywhere why not AMD?

    Anyhow, I’ve had it. From here on, Apple means good I-pods only. I’ll have to look elsewhere for good computers.

  6. The nice intergrated OS can be done by anybody.

    Powerbooks producing ton’s ofheat with Pentium M chips? 2/3 the battery life? The ugly Intel inside sticker?

    Yea I bought a powerbook for it’s hardware features and price point. The OS was just bonus.

  7. Well, it might be the OS, stupid, but who will buy PPC Macs over the next year? They’re dinosaurs! Note that Steve didn’t demonstrate PPC Macs running Intel code — even though he could have — presumably because they run too slow.

    Resellers may get creamed over the next year, unless the June 2006 date is a fake-out and Intel Macs will be available much earlier. If not, makes you wonder what Steve was thinking announcing it so early. Why would he need to given the Rosetta compatibility layer?

  8. Stupidity is what I read in some of these posts. Do you really think Apple would abandon even ONE user? This is the 3rd major transition since I’ve been here and will be probably the smoothest.

    1. OS “X” is now the Mac…. It isn’t about hardware and has always been about the software.
    2. OS “X” has been running on the PC platform for 5 years. You don’t know it, but we do.
    3. Intel is passionate about what they do and why they do it.
    4. Apple is passionate about what we do and why we do it.
    5. Mac Applications will run on INTEL chips, no sweat. XCode has seen to that.
    6. Developers will ship CD’s or DVD’s with both versions on one Disk.
    7. The PC world should be pretty nervous today because Longhorn is likely 18 months out and OS “X” Intel Boxes will be in the channel within 12 months.

    Apple tries to a fault to never leave anyone behind. The Mac Platform is ready for launch into the mainstream and if I were a Box Assembler running some version of WINDOZE, I’d be starting to wonder what my value add to the market really is? The INNOVATOR is teaming up with another INNOVATOR, and the results could be mind boggling…

    But heh, you go ahead a jump to a PC….. and see how much innovation you enjoy on the “dark side”….

  9. the mac chips we are working on are not the x86 architecture that you are presently familiar with. The dev kit we worked on in conjecture with apple only gives a starting point to our new relationship. We will have full 64bit processing and awesome notebook offers.

    You will lose your mind when you see the new ibooks and powerbooks Apple is cooking up. Just tremendous. Wait just wait till you see the design specs. They ought to be in museums…at least the prototypes that have been tossed around here.

    This will be my first and last post. It will be uncertain but believe me, Ortelli and Jobs did not make this decision on a whim. Discussions had been ongoing for year plus, Ortelli has shown Jobs the cloak room and what Intel has in store.

    Be patient, Apple fans. This is the beginning of a beautiful thing.

  10. For those of you worrying about software, Steve said that if you use the new Xcode your software will be usable on BOTH platforms. This means that this transition will not be as big headache as some are speculating.

    I, for one, am excited about the change. As has been pointed out, this really levels the playing field and will really give MS a run for its money.

    MW possible

  11. Here we go again with predicitons of doom! LOL!

    It is the OS, stupid.

    If the things Steve said to the developers are true, this change will be relatively painless unlike previous big changes.

    Legacy apps will run under Rosetta apparently better than in Classic mode.

    Developers will ship dual binaries that will install on both PPC and Intel machines.

    For most of us, the guts of our computers are just black boxes. As long as the OS and the Apps work, no one will really care.

    No doom and gloom here!

    MW: “other” as in other ideas or “Think Different”

  12. “MacDailyNews Take: It’s the OS, stupid.”

    No, Stupid… It’s not JUST the OS. It’s the whole Mac experience.

    Have Apple been lying to us all this time about the advantages of Altivec, 64bit processing and the PPC Chip?

    Quite frankly Apple and Steve Jobs made an ass of themselves today.

    How do they plan to explain the years of touting how much better the PPC is over Pentium.. I mean, come on just read the G5 performance page from the Apple site?

    Are we all that brainwashed to support every move Apple makes? Enough is enough.

    Apple hasn’t just hurt itself short-term, they have made a fool out of all of us..

    Yeah, this move is definitely more than just the OS.

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