Cringely: Otellini was forced out by Intel board thanks to Apple’s decision to abandon Intel chips

“Paul Otellini this week resigned his position as CEO of Intel as I’m sure you’ve already heard or read. Analysts and pundits are weighing-in on the matter, generally attributing Otellini’s failure to Intel’s late and flawed effort to gain traction in the mobile processor space,” Bob Cringely writes for I, Cringely. “While I tend to agree with this assessment, it doesn’t go far enough to explain Otellini’s fall, which is not only his fault but also the fault of Intel’s board of directors. Yes, Otellini was forced out by the board, but the better action would have been for the board to have fired itself, too.”

“If there was a single event that triggered this end to Otellini’s tenure at Intel I’m guessing it is Apple’s decision to abandon Intel chips for its desktop computers. There has been no such announcement but Apple has sent signals to the market and Apple doesn’t send signals for fun,” Cringely writes. “The question isn’t if Apple would drop Intel but when and the way product design changes are made the when is not this Christmas but next.”

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Intel CEO Paul Otellini to retire in May – November 19, 2012
What Apple dumping Intel could mean – November 8, 2012
Apple exploring switch from Intel processors for Macintosh, say sources – November 5, 2012
iPad 4 graphics upgrade a serious horsepower increase; Apple’s A6X is one massive processing machine – November 2, 2012
Benchmarks: Apple iPad 4′s A6X beats all comers in GPU performance – November 2, 2012
Apple’s powerful A6 a unique CPU design that’s never been seen before – October 8, 2012
Analysis of Apple A6 core reveals exquisite, optimized custom layout done by hand – September 26, 2012
Apple A6 die reveals 3-core GPU – September 21, 2012
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Apple’s custom A6 processor the result of years of effort, including a $500 million chip development program – September 18, 2012
A6 is Apple’s first with custom-designed CPU cores; iPhone 5 memory size and speed revealed – September 16, 2012

57 Comments

    1. Yes, and there is the event. Microsoft as so aggressively screwed up Windows Vista, 7 & 8. And now more people are using the cloud computing using their Internet browser, there is no need to stay with “Intel inside” with Windows compatibility. Those Windows apps are now going for iPad compatible. Isn’t it a stronger statement to say iOS App compatible now?

      1. Interesting thinking, but that transition is just beginning and success unknown. As long as MS still owns 90% of the PC market, doubt Apple can jump to their own architecture. If Apple could get to 20%, it would be a good time.

        It is really all about Office and not Windows, it’s MS’s cash cow and killer app. So, the real question is whether user (business) will ever accept anything else.

        1. Apple has just in the last 3 months upgraded every high profile piece of hardware that they produce. That leaves a vast resource utilization hole to be filled with other endeavors. Two things come to mind:

          1. It’s time for Pages, and Numbers to acquire superior functionality to their MS equivalents. Keynote is already there.

          2. Windows compatibility will be relatively unimportant as Windows becomes less and less relevant. Ballmer & crew just drove Windows off the relevancy cliff with the release of Windows 8. The graph goes straight down from here.

          With those two points in mind, and the fact that since OS X 10.1 the Apple OS has always been 64 bit capable, except when they had to dumb it down for Intel CPU compatibility, I believe it will be time within the next 12 months for Apple to shed the constraints of Intel altogether. The very fact Intel designs its chips for the MS/Dell/Sony market means that those chips suffer from limitations imposed by moribund MS software design and “cheapest possible” Dell hardware design. I’m sure Apple is feeling constrained by Intel CPU capabilities.

          1. I forgot one very important additional point. It’s also time for Apple to insure that OS X, or maybe OS XI doesn’t run on the chips used by everyone else. The next Apple OS needs to be impossible to pirate and run on a Dell PC. Apple can do that by writing it to run only on a chip of their own design.

            1. This is a non-problem. Who really cares if a handful of geeks have nothing better to do than jump over hurdles and through loops to make OS X run on a Dell?
              Desktops need performance. And, compared to Intel processors, the ARM is a pantywaist in this category.

            1. Oh, I don’t know…maybe load balancing among multiple cores as a hardware function instead of an OS function? Is 8 GB all the RAM we’re likely to ever need (seems I heard something similar a few years back)? Stuff like that. You’re asking me to point out the dog that hasn’t barked. Who knows what new ideas Apple may have that don’t fit the present Intel CPU capabilities? If Apple has such ideas they are being held back by using Intel. The other half of that problem is that if they get Intel to solve their problem they solve it for all of Apple’s competitors if they want to then copy Apple’s new idea.

            2. “Care to elaborate? Or would that be stretching it?”

              “You do go on, don’t you?”

              Cognitive dissonance? Do you ever read other than the first or last line?

    2. Apple doesn’t need switchers anymore. For many new customers, they’re buying a Mac ONLY to run OSX. With every day, there’s less and less reason to maintain compatibility with Windows.

      I mean, no one expects to be able to run OSX on a Windows PC.

      1. I was buying books to prepare for my GRE. I was actually quite shocked that one of them came with PC only software. Amazing considering the rate at which college students own Macs is way above 20% nationally and in many universities over 50%. It’s incomprehensible someone would dare publish a GRE prep book in 2013 with windows only software.

        1. Virtual PC on PowerPC machines was painfully slow. Emulating Intel devices with non-Intel machines is a non-solution. Apple can’t even emulate PowerPC anymore; they dropped Rosetta.

  1. If it is announced in the next year it means Apple is sitting on something currently that is comparable to what Intel has now. Apple will not make a sideways move performance wise. If it makes a move it is going to be a game changing move on multiple levels.

    1. I think that is a very significant observation.

      There are most certainly advantages with using Intel ( mostly to do with booting up into Windows for those who need to ), so a switch to another CPU would need to offer advantages that significantly outweigh that. I think that there would have to be a dramatic performance ( both speed and efficiency ) boost to make it a serious contender.

      It’s worth adding that Microsoft are no longer catering for legacy users either, so Wintel emulation isn’t such a big issue as it used to be. If Apple can offer applications with good compatibility with Word, Excel and Powerpoint, together with a few other key third party applications, then the need for Wintel becomes less and less.

    2. The only way to replace Intel chips in Apple’s desktops and laptops is with a full 64-bit hardware architecture. Applications and data sets (and users with a dozen apps open at a time) are just too memory hungry these days to be stuck in < 4 GB memory implementations. Apple will absolutely *NOT* go back to any 32-bit implementations in any Mac.

      ARM just recently announced the framework for its 64-bit architecture. They have not released the details of that architecture to anyone — most likely because the details don't exist yet. They expect to get final details out in calendar Q2 2013 and absolutely by the end of calendar quarter Q3 2013.

      IF (an extremely unlikely IF) Apple has been doing its own variant of the 64-bit ARM architecture and defined its own details so as to have 64-bit chips in full production by the end of 2013 then it almost certainly won't be bit level compatible with any of ARM's own variants. But Apple doing its own architecture would be the only way that it can have hardware out within the next year to 18 months. And Apple would have to grow from the ground up all the developer tools too. Goodby all the current tools because they''d be giving up both ARM *and* Intel cores.

      If Apple does it's own chip based on the ARM 64-bit machine then it will have a chip out — AT THE EARLIEST — in calendar Q4 of 2014 (18 months after ARM finishes its specifications). AND it will be a "1.0" variant. No one should expect Apple to ship desktops based upon that chip. (Ever wonder why Apple's first public variant of its ARM implementation was the A4? The first variant of chips is usually just, if at all, functional.)

      Thus, I'd predict that AT THE EARLIEST Apple will ship desktops based upon the ARM architecture in 2016 and maybe not until 2020 or later.

      A new architecture is coming. However, Intel is not standing still either. The next three generations of Intel's core chip sets are very, very power focused. (Everyone should have noticed that Intel used to come out with its high end/flagship chips first but is not coming out with their lower power variants several months before the high end chips.) When will the price/performance/power crossover for desktop chips happen? Not within the next 18 months. I'm GUESSING 2018 to 2020.

      Sometimes Chringely just spouts off to rabble rouse. He's doing this time too. Otellini was not forced out for something that won't happen for at least three to four years — or more.

        1. The ARM is a processor that has become very popular for embedded design. It’s key features are low power, low cost and flexible design. You license the core so you can place the device on the same piece of silicon as other parts of your design keeping your device count down which translates to lower costs for the end product. You can even put multiple cores on a single piece of silicon for more performance.
          ARM popularity seems to be snowballing. As more and more designs use it, the features, tools and support have been getting better making it even more desirable for designers.
          However, the ARM has been tailored for embedded devices where power consumption is critical. The latest versions have added more performance capabilities but they simply aren’t intended (or anywhere near ready) to compete with an Intel-type processor where performance is king and power consumption is not so important.

    3. MS is making a Windows 8 for thier ARM tablet. Whatever you call it this can be good for Apple as to my understanding Windows 8 ARM will run a full Office suite. If this is the case The ability to dual boot is as simple as buying a Windows ARM version.

  2. Won’t be happy at all with an Intel drop.

    However two lines (which is marketing suicide) would be easier to swallow.

    ARM for ever increasingly powerful mobile devices.
    Intel for desktop production.

    1. The old joke about weathermen comes to mind, but with a much more relevant twist:
        What job can you have and be consistently wrong, but still get raises? Pundit!

      😆

  3. Its as likely that the Intel board is starting to RUE the day they seeded the net book attack on Apple and are taking it out on Otellini, adding to Microsofts decision to put an ARM chip under the hood of the Surface RT (soon so be sub Surface) lol

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