Freescale Semi to supply Apple Computer with PowerPC processors through 2008

“Apple Computer Inc.’s transition to Intel Corp.’s microprocessors may not happen as fast as expected, as the computer maker on Friday (Aug. 26) reported that it has signed a microprocessor supply agreement with Freescale Semiconductor Inc. that lasts through 2008,” Dylan McGrath reports for EE Times. “According to a document filed by Apple with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple and Freescale entered into a purchase agreement Aug. 22 whereby Freescale is obligated to supply Apple with Power PC microprocessors through 2008. Apple, however, is ‘under no obligation to purchase Freescale microprocessors other than work in progress that was in place at the time the agreement was executed,’ according to the filing.”

Full article here.

Apple’s 8-K filing here.

“It remains to be seen how many orders Apple will make… A Freescale spokesman would not comment on the value of orders Apple has placed this year, or if Apple plans to place more orders under the length of the purchase agreement. Apple declined to comment on the deal. ‘We will continue to meet Apple’s needs throughout the transition process,’ said Freescale spokesman Glaston Ford,” Matt Andrejczak reports for MarketWatch.

MacDailyNews Take: As McGrath speculates in his full article, this agreement could be taken either as a sign that the transition to Intel chips may take longer than expected or just that Apple may wish to have PowerPC processors available in case the Intel transition doesn’t go as smoothly as hoped. Given those two choices, we’d lean towards the latter. Another good possibility is that the deal exists simply to allow Apple to buy chips to repair or replace those used in older PowerPC-based models.

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

20 Comments

  1. I like coolfactor’s thoughts. MDN’s take is just a shotgun approach to covering every single base. One of them will have to be right out of shear coverage. Whatever the reason, Apple’s not stupid, they’re prudent, and it’s prudent to make sure your heiney is covered.

  2. …or the PowerPC processors could be used in an embedded application such as a next-generation AirPort base station, XRaid controllers, clustering fabric, whatnot?

    Or it’s simply “keeping options open”

    I don’t think much can be read into this at all.

  3. Another option is since the “Trusted” chip has been broken on Apple developers x86 boxes and Mac OS X, Apple might decide to keep a PPC chip in all Macs to handle the OS, while the heavy lifting is done by the dual core Intel chips.

    Clearly the developers box with a x86 version of Mac OS X was a test.

    I don’t think you can seperate all the neccessary functionality from hardware without your code being hacked.

    There has to be a hardware tie-in and I think the PPC chips are going to still be needed.

  4. First Mactels delivered last half of 2006….laptops.
    First Mactels for desktops – first/second half of 2007.
    Please expect delays on the above.
    Remember these will be first generation…u know what that means at Apple. (Hint: problems.)
    First time to buy a good Mactel – add 1 year to dates shown above.
    Which coincides with end of PowerPC in 2008…

  5. “An honest headline like:

    ‘Apple Seals Deal to Continue Purchase of Power PC Chips through Transition'”

    The problem with your proposed headline is that it’s not honest for the simple fact that we don’t know the precise reason why ‘Freescale Semi to supply Apple Computer with PowerPC processors through 2008’. It could be related to the transition or it just might be related to warranties. No one knows.

  6. Contingency planning…risk management…is all.

    Apple would be incredibly inept and incompetent beyond description if they didn’t do something to this effect, methinks.

    Basic project management

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