ZDNet blogger Paul Murphy says that Apple should have started buying CPUs from Sun instead of Intel if they were making a transition, to which I say, put down the crack pipe. The fundamental problem with Apple staying on the PowerPC platform was that Apple makes the only personal computers that use that chip. So IBM is working on building PowerPCs for servers, and consoles, and probably other things that don’t really help out Apple all that much, along with CPUs for Macs. We see how that worked out. And IBM’s primary business isn’t even making chips. Compare that to Intel, who lives and dies by providing ever improving CPUs for personal computers. Then add in AMD, who Apple can always turn to down the road if Intel falters, once the x86 transition is complete. If Intel and AMD fail to continue to deliver increasing performance, the entire PC hardware industry falls flat on its face, and they go out of business. Sun isn’t even in the business of making CPUs for personal computers — what bet seems smarter to you?
Update: I think the most valid concern about Apple’s future is the one discussing Osbourization — that the promise of new hardware to come will kill hardware sales today. I have a feeling that Apple saw Powerbook sales falling off anyway due to the ongoing lack of newer, better models. Lots of people were waiting for the next generation Powerbook, and it sounds like there wasn’t any next generation Powerbook in the pipeline due to the lack of a better CPU for them. That’s probably one of the big things that forced Apple to act. Secondly, Classic applications (those written for Mac OS 8 and 9) aren’t going to run on x86 Macs at all. That’s going to maintain a market of some size for PowerPC based hardware for some time to come.