Should Apple buy SGI now that itis filling for Bankruptcy?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by iris_failsafe, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. iris_failsafe macrumors 6502

    iris_failsafe

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    #1
    CNBC reported today that SGi loaners are getting desperate with the company's lack of future plans and are asking it to file for bankruptcy. Do you think that Apple could benefit by acquiring this company or it would only be a burden that would screw up it's finances.

    Points in favour.
    + experience building large servers and enterprise systems
    +"" building supercomputers
    +"" with Intel processors
    + they created OpenGL. Can help Apple in it's 3d efforts.

    Against
    - Only $200M market cap
    - A large amount of debt, poor finances
    - Large amount of employees retirements
    - Their best brains deserted the company a long time ago
     
  2. alex_ant macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #2
    SGI stock: SELL!!

    SGI is in ruin. They have virtually nothing to offer Apple except small and quickly shrinking footholds in high-end graphics and computation. They have very little useful IP anymore, and huge debts. Their OS and software offerings are stuck in 1996. Their abandoned processor line, which they don't even own anymore, is stagnating like PowerPC (but even worse). They are getting eaten alive on the low end, their tech is aging, and they can't do anything about it because all their talent is gone. Itanium, which they bet the company on, continues to tread water, and the market for high-end single-image machines is shrinking fast. As I understand it, the only thing keeping SGI afloat at this point is classified DOD contracts (to which they are not allowed to report the income).

    Maybe some sort of Apple-SGI synergy could have worked in the mid-'90s, but mismanagement just totally annihilated SGI. Kind of ironic, because 10 years ago, SGI was the one firing on all cylinders and Apple was the one that was mismanaged. SGI is like a perfect case study of how to systematically destroy a successful computer company.
     
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #3
    - experience going broke building large servers and enterprise systems

    - "" building supercomputers

    - "" with Intel processors and getting @$$=$ kicked by clone makers

    - Lost the cutting edge in graphics and high end workstations not long after switching to Intel.
     
  4. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #4
    I can tell you that the last eight years have been pretty bad on the SGI side of the fence. And even worse (for me) over the last six years since I realized that there was no one at SGI who was going to put the company back on course (it has been sort of like watching someone you care about die of cancer... slowly).

    The reactions to all this stuff in the SGI community has been... well, mixed.

    Most of us have seen this coming for a long time, so there isn't any shock over the news. The writing was on the wall when SGI sold Cray and Alias|Wavefront. And I was pretty sure that the end was coming when they started using Windows NT and sold a ton of IP to Microsoft (around 1999).

    Plus, the community and SGI have always had an... odd relationship. SGI doesn't like individual users (professionals or hobbyists), and they tolerate most of what the community does... but absolutely does not support or encourage the community.

    Which, for most of us, is fine. SGI has taken a path that many of us have no reason to follow. Most of the SGI users I know have never owned an Intel based SGI workstation, and think that both the Windows NT and now Linux choices show that there is little left of what made the company great at one time (being industry leaders rather than bringing up the rear of technology as they do now).

    What is sad is that the people who have been running SGI during this march towards death are not even doing anything differently now... even with the end rushing up on them. It is like they are sleep walking, totally unaware of where they are taking the company.

    It has been really quite bizarre to watch.
     
  5. alex_ant macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #5
    SGI has lost most of its customers to Wintel, Lintel, Sun, and IBM. You would have to be insane to buy a big SGI system today and not even know how much longer SGI will be around to support it. They publish roadmaps that they change at their leisure and they clearly have no idea what direction they want to take their company. They sell $10,000 desktop workstations that get the **** kicked out of them by Wintel boxes costing half as much, and of course nobody buys them, yet they continue to let these 700MHz dinosaurs linger in their product lineup like time capsules from the year 2001. They support open source, but they don't know why. They support Linux... but they support IRIX too (if you consider no major updates since 1997 "support")... It's like they can't decide what they want to do, so they try to do everything and hope that one thing or another works.

    I bought an R4400 Indigo2 on eBay a few years ago that had IRIX 5.2 installed on it. The seller didn't know the root password... so I (with next to no knowledge of getting root on Unix systems, I assure you) exploited some totally stupid security hole that involved a suid root program, a buffer overflow, and /etc/passwd. In retrospect, that was pretty damn funny. IRIX and Indigo Magic seem ancient today, but they were very nice when they were still competing against Windows 3.1 and Mac OS 7. For a while they even seemed poised to break through into the mainstream, with Photoshop and Illustrator and Netscape and RealAudio Player (hey, it was cool in 1995) all running natively. The hardware was always very high quality too, and very fast for its time. 150MHz in 1993, with 128MB of RAM and 8 geometry engines pumping out 300,000 polygons per second, all in a computer no bigger than a PC... yowza!

    From what I remember, Ed McCracken presided over growth through the mid '90s as CEO until he resigned in the late '90s (after the debut of the O2/Octane/Origin series). The company was already running into trouble at this time. The guy who took over for him was Rick Belluzzo, who proceeded to dump the awesome cube logo and replace it with "sgi." Then he stuck MIPS and IRIX on the back burner, and tepidly embraced Intel and Windows NT. (Basically screwing over the entire customer base.) He left after a year and a half and went straight to Microsoft where he became President. Bob Bishop, a longtime board member took over for him at SGI and proceeded to do pretty much nothing. What SGI has learned too late is that while laying people off is an easy and fast way to stop financial hemmorhaging, it can have unexpected side effects, such as making it impossible to develop the very products that are the core of your business. Oops!
     
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #6
    Somebody will buy the "assets" -- patent portfolio and software -- and leave the corpse of the company to rot if the company doesn't have any plans to emerge from BK.
     
  7. ~loserman~ macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Another thing that killed SGI was the CRAY acquisition and later the sell off of CRAY.
    When SGI bought CRAY, CRAY had massive debt. When they sold off CRAY's assets believe it or not they kept CRAY's debt.(which was way more than they got for it's assets.)
     
  8. ~loserman~ macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    An aside.

    Many people like to laugh at SGI and their mistakes.
    Especially mocking them for their Altix line. I am not one of them.
    Have any of you actually used one. I have they are the most awesome Big Iron machines. Single Image machines like the Altix with NUMA are unbelievable at many tasks. Tasks that clusters and standard servers just are not suited for.
    Suppose you have an App that needs 100s of GBs of memory to run.
    Suppose you need realtime results or near realtime results from this app.
    What are you going to run it on.
    Noone but SGI really has a product capable to do it.
    Find me another 512 Processor Single system image machine. Not to mention one with the memory bandwidth and low latency of an Altix.
    You cant because there isn't one.
    That is why Government customers buy these.
     
  9. emotion macrumors 68040

    emotion

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    #9
    People who actually use SGI machines (I'm talking HPC class machines like origin/onyx and altix/prism) love them with a similar fervor to Apple users. There are many parallels between SGI and Apple (rumours of their demise have persisted for years).

    I really hope SGI don't go away. Having worked on cluster style (beowulf) machines (as opposed to Single syetem image machines) getting them to work, particulalry in the Grid field that I work in, is way more of a headache. There is also the issue of support. Cluster machines also suck up huge amounts of support time that no-one factors in when a procurement is made as the people who buy the machines are very rarely the same people that use them.

    Fingers crossed for the survival of SGI.
     
  10. iris_failsafe thread starter macrumors 6502

    iris_failsafe

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    #10
    My guess is that unless they find their Steve Jobs they will disappear. Someone will buy their HPC business (Probably HP or IBM) and scrap the rest. I think Apple could use it. Their NUMA technology and brick system is really cool and it could help Apple in the corporate and government world.

    And about that Logo it is a shame. Second to the bitten Apple it was the coolest logo ever and it symbolised the company like no other logo I have seen.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. chatin macrumors 6502

    chatin

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    #11
    Bankruptcy the "Next" thing!

    SGI reminds me of Next Computer. Been there, done that!

    :rolleyes:
     
  12. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #12
    NeXT did not go bankrupt. NeXT is very much alive as the brains of Apple Computer.
     
  13. Spock macrumors 68000

    Spock

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    #13
    I would drop anything slower than 1GhZ, then build a desktop machine with a low consumer price and some new easy to use animation software and get the thing to dual boot IRIX and dare I say Windows XP.Think SGI iMac
     
  14. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #14
    Say, how much is this company going for? This could be a great opportunity for a aspiring, fresh CEO to come and get desperately picked up, and then make out-of-the-box moves, with the already-known SGI brand behind him.

    ****, I want to be that CEO. Too bad I'm still in college, and don't have the money to talk, or buy, my way into there. :)
     
  15. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

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    #15
    I wouldn't mind buying the rights to their SGI logo. It looks pretty damn cool.
     
  16. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

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    #16
    I'm sad to see SGI dying, but as others have already pointed out... their glory days are way in the past. SGI made a lot of tactical mistakes, much like Sun...

    I've been digging around the past couple weeks trying to find a good Indy R5K. That was always my favorite computer (roughly tied with the NeXTStation). A masterpiece of hardware design and software features, at least to me. I can't stand IRIX, which is probably the only reason the Indy usually comes in second...

    It's kinda funny, though, peoples' hare-brained schemes for saving SGI. Come on, turning SGI into a mid-range home PC company? Dual-booting IRIX and Windows? Come on!
     
  17. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

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    #17
    That's one way of putting it. Another is that NeXT took over Apple completely :p
     
  18. iris_failsafe thread starter macrumors 6502

    iris_failsafe

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    #18
    The thing is that SGI has nothing big to offer. NeXT had an awesome OS and interesting projects such as Web Object. Plus what Apple really bought was Stevo. SGI has nothing. The cool Graphics cards such as the Nvidia FX4000 and the ATI Fire GL can wipe the floor with an SGI graphics subsystem. The Prism now uses Fire GL chips.

    For now their only hope is the DoD/NSA/Pentagon keeps them alive stating national security reasons until some company can take over.


    BY THE WAY. It seems that Cray is suffering the same fate as SGI and is expected to file for bankruptcy in the coming weeks. If Cray goes away it will mean that only NEC will produce Vector supercomputers which are crucial to a number of industries.

    :(
     
  19. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #19
    Selling Windows workstations was the beginning of the end of SGI. The back lash was enough that SGI dumped that business on Intergraph and stopped selling Windows based systems.

    Everything that has gone wrong with SGI can be traced back to them starting to sell Windows based workstations (and then putting ads for them in Mac magazines no less).

    Selling hardware running Windows? Think follower. not leader.

    That would be just more of what got them into this mess to begin with. Remember, where SGI was concerned Windows was the problem, not the solution. :eek:
     
  20. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #20
    So what can't you stand about IRIX?

    Granted, I'm most likely bias as I've been using SGIs for more than a decade now, but considering when the environment was put together (IRIX 6.5.x doesn't actually feel all that different from IRIX 5.x from around 1993) and that it was based on Motif, and it is pretty amazing.

    I use my SGI (Indy) almost daily, but haven't fired up any of my Suns in more than a year (most likely more than two come to think of it).
     
  21. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

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    #21
    It's a BS complaint, to be honest. I hated Solaris until I installed an app that mimicked the BSD ports system, and then I absolutely loved it. If I found something that worked similarly on IRIX, I'd probably love it too. It's just a matter of me feeling like I have my hands tied as far as software goes.

    And I should also say that I hate the installation process. As I posted above, I really want to get an Indy, but the last one I had (sold to help pay for my wedding) was violated by the really immature and unworkable Linux installation I had, since I couldn't afford a "true" IRIX install CD set. If I could get a real IRIX installation (with all bells and whistles) on my Indy, I would be buying it even as we speak.

    I've owned a few of those monsters. Five SPARCStations and three Ultra 10's. The Ultra 10's died within days of me getting them off eBay -- all three had different problems (one IDE controller, one CPU flambee, one motherboard frijole). I love Sun machines but I just don't seem to have any luck keeping them running -- either that or I've just had astoundingly bad luck buying them. Even though I love them, I don't love them nearly as much as SGI machines. Suns are machines, SGIs are art. I've had five or six Indigo2's, the Indy, and an Octane. The Octane was the only one that came with a working IRIX installation, but it was crippled to the point that I couldn't add any programs from SGI's website. Probably hence my poor opinion of IRIX :rolleyes: Hey, never said it was a *valid* opinion...
     
  22. Spock macrumors 68000

    Spock

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    #22
    Oh but selling outdated hardware from '97 for 10 grand is helping them out. 700mhZ MIPS or not that sucks
     
  23. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #23
    Well Spock, I don't think you could logically connect that statement to anything I've said... Which in turn really gives me nothing to reply to.

    :rolleyes: Other than the fact that I'm guessing you are not Vulcan. ;)


    kalisphoenix,

    Most of my Suns and SGI were from ebay and came as non-functioning systems (they were practice systems for learning how to service and trouble shoot them). So I know the feeling of not getting a complete system.

    One of the first things I got was IRIX 5.3 and then IRIX 6.2 so I could install the system software myself. I don't have IRIX 6.5.x because of how expensive it is (just can't justify the cost). I've seen bad installations of IRIX on ebay systems before, which makes it sad that the IRIX media isn't usually included with them.
     
  24. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

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    #24
    I've been looking -- when I was young and naive (2 years ago), I bought the Software Overlays for 6.5.19 for $20. Of course, I didn't know they were worthless without the rest of the set... I got a set of 6.5 coasters with one of my Indigo2s (guy said in the listing they were kosher, heh).

    But yeah, I agree completely. I haven't seen 6.5 for under $199. I've never seen 5.3 or 6.2 on eBay, but then I don't look for IRIX that often. I've probably searched FTP sites more than I have eBay :p 5.3 is actually what I'd prefer to run on an Indy.

    Well, anyway, this has gotten me all fired up to get an Indy again. Which means dropping the cash on a bigger SCSI hard drive, a SCSI CDROM, a 13W3 connector, and a copy of IRIX :p Pray for me.
     
  25. Evangelion macrumors 68040

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    Jan 10, 2005
    #25
    I feel truly sorry for SGI. And I feel sad to see people mock them because they are failing. They created kick-ass machines that looked great as well. they really helped push CGI forward.

    I think that having a Silicon Graphics workstation as my main machine would be the coolest thing there is. There is a magic aura around those machines. While the used machines would be a bit slow these days, there is something in knowing that the machine you are using was the fastest machine available a while ago, and that the amoung of real engineering that went in to designing it was staggering. No mere slapping of parts together, but real engineering.

    If only Octane2 supported Linux 100% I would be running one right now. No question about it. And I hope that if SGI fails, the comunity could somehow obtain the needed documentation to make those SGI-workstation scream on Linux. That way their useful life would be extended for a long period of time.

    Godspeed SGI!
     

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