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Sculley on Apple and Intel

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Infoworld reports on comments from former Apple CEO John Sculley regarding Apple's decision to not switch to an Intel based architecture in the late 80s.

Intel's cofounder Andy Grove reportedly tried to convince Apple to migrate to the Intel platform directly from the Motorola 68000 which was used in Macs prior to the PowerPC switch in the early 90s.

Apple apparently felt that the CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) architecture would not be able to keep up with a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) based architecture. The PowerPC is a RISC based chip.

Sculley claims,"That's probably one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made, not going to the Intel platform".
 

Porshuh944turbo

macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2003
261
0
what a crock... at the time, CISC could NOT keep up with RISC, but the two architectures have becomre more and more similar over the years that it is no longer a large factor as far as performance goes.
 
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reyesmac

macrumors 6502
Jul 17, 2002
389
61
Central Texas
I wish I could look at a history book that shows alternate histories. Apple on Intel would be one of the first chapters I would read.
 
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asim

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2003
43
2
charlottesville, va
hmm.. sculley is apparently admitting he made a mistake while at apple. who would have thunk-it?

not sure how to sort out which would be his "biggest mistake," though...

afc
 
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Doctor Q

Contributor
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,312
4,741
Los Angeles
Maybe the megahertz myth wouldn't have been such an issue, but I think that the direction of Mac OS (7,8,9,X), Apple's applications (ClarisWorks, FileMaker, QuickTime, Final Cut Pro, iLife), hardware products (Performa, Newton, iMac, Powerbook, iPod), services (eWorld, .mac, iTunes Music Store), and maybe even marketing ("1984", "Think Different") have all had more to do with the ups and downs of Apple than which processor was inside the box.
 
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dongmin

macrumors 68000
Jan 3, 2002
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it just goes to show how c l u e l e s s he was when it came to personal computing. He should've stuck to selling flavored sugar water.
 
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nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
I'm not a CEO but moving to Intel would have been disasterous.

Imagine it folks.

Mactel- P4 3.2Ghz Computer $2999

Wintel P4 3.2Ghz Computer $2499

How would Apple differentiate it's product from wintel. Same processor. I know they don't think people would actually pay more for design knowing they innards where the same.

Sculley. You may rest knowing NOT moving to Intel was a good thing!
 
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Doctor Q

Contributor
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,312
4,741
Los Angeles
Originally posted by dongmin
it just goes to show how c l u e l e s s he was when it came to personal computing. He should've stuck to selling flavored sugar water.
Maybe we would have had New Pepsi!
 
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ipiloot

macrumors member
Oct 22, 2001
93
0
Sculley still has no clue!

After all those years, Sculley still can't reach to the real depths. He still won't see what was he's real problem at Apple. What processor was inside was very minor issue. And I bet that with Intel, the matters would be much worse.

The lack of management from CEO was the problem. Acceptance of the in-house kingdoms was the problem. Hiring and promoting wrong people was the biggest problem.

Wake up John. It's last time admitting that you was the problem. A major-one. You had no vision and no clue what's happening inside and outside. You would have been very good operations manager. But not CEO. At least in Apple. Admit it.
 
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Dippo

macrumors 65816
Sep 27, 2003
1,044
1
Charlotte, NC
I still think RISC is much better than CISC. CISC is reaching it's limitations while RISC still has some ground to go.

That's just my opinion, no real scientific data to back it up with.
 
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Genie

macrumors 6502a
May 25, 2003
604
0
heaven
Originally posted by nuckinfutz
I'm not a CEO but moving to Intel would have been disasterous.

Imagine it folks.

Mactel- P4 3.2Ghz Computer $2999

Wintel P4 3.2Ghz Computer $2499

How would Apple differentiate it's product from wintel. Same processor. I know they don't think people would actually pay more for design knowing they innards where the same.


Good point...

but they're not paying more now...

Most of the lemmings don't buy apples now, even when the G5 costs LESS.
 
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Rincewind42

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2003
620
0
Orlando, FL
Originally posted by asim
not sure how to sort out which would be his "biggest mistake," though...

Perhaps the decision to sell Macs for 3 times the prices of PCs for most of the 80s? Topping it off with the $10K Mac II FX.

Or maybe going with Mac SE/30 instead of Mac SEx? :D
 
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panphage

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2003
496
0
Aren't current pentiums and Athlons just RISC chips with X86 emulators bolted on anyway?
 
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roy_dan

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2003
28
0
What's wrong with Intel? Intel GOOD, Microsoft BAD

I hate to see guilt by association and that is what's happening to Intel nowadays. Yes, they have a strong partnership with Microsoft but that is only smart business. Trust me, they don't share the same philosophies as MS.

I worked at Intel for almost 5 years (blue collar) and can tell you first hand it’s a great company that takes care of the employees and customers. Much like another company we all appreciate, Apple. Intel and Apple have more in common than we may think.

Who says an Intel enabled Mac would be on IA32? I'm sure if Steve Jobs gave Intel the go-ahead they would have a PPC compliant product to manufacture in parallel to the P4's on their awesome manufacturing process. I have seen Itanium, PIII, P4, Celeron, Chipsets, and Strong ARMS all in the same factory in Chandler, AZ.

Whether by buying a license or inventing an ingenious workaround, making PPC's would give them one more edge on AMD and Sun and that's what Intel really cares about.

With Motorola soon to be out of the picture and IBM concentrating on G5's I can't think of a better company to fill in Apple's 32bit gap. Heck, I wouldn't mind Intel making both 32bit and 64bit CPU's for Apple.

Comparing a Mactel to a Wintel is still inconclusive. One of Apple's biggest strengths, IMO, is the fact it's one company engineering the whole system. Sun has it too and look at whom they are starting to buy CPU's from! I would even argue that a Mactel system would be cheaper than a Wintel system. Who’s around to over-charge for the operating system license? The smart buyers look past GHz vs. GHz and choose productivity. Ever wonder why Mac users seem smarter than Windows users? LOL That’s not always true.

Never fear, Wintel will forever be inferior because of all the corporate boundaries between making just one system. It's worse than government red tape.

Reevaluate Intel and think about what will carry Apple into the next 20 years. It’s not going to be a foundry fab at IBM.
 
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Rincewind42

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2003
620
0
Orlando, FL
Originally posted by Dippo
I still think RISC is much better than CISC. CISC is reaching it's limitations while RISC still has some ground to go.

That's just my opinion, no real scientific data to back it up with.

Well, generally the only popular architectures that didn't inherit from an initial RISC based design are all from Intel (the only other major CISC that I know if is the 68K line, but it's purely an embedded processor now). The biggest problem with the x86 is all of the baggage that it's accumulated over the years and the huge compatibility culture that Intel themselves created (thus dooming Itanic/Itanium from the beginning).

Not much is pure RISC as it was initially designed (nearly 20 years ago iirc) but most newer architectures followed most of it's principles. Even x86 has borrowed many of it's principles, but for compatibility's sake doesn't expose them to the programmer.
 
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kevib

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2003
3
0
Re: What's wrong with Intel? Intel GOOD, Microsoft BAD

Originally posted by roy_dan
I hate to see guilt by association and that is what's happening to Intel nowadays. Yes, they have a strong partnership with Microsoft but that is only smart business. Trust me, they don't share the same philosophies as MS.

uh, yeah actually they do. they both want complete market share. also, as we speak they are working hard to more closely tie the os with the hardware. soon the only os you'll be able to run on intel hardware will be windows.


Who says an Intel enabled Mac would be on IA32? I'm sure if Steve Jobs gave Intel the go-ahead they would have a PPC compliant product to manufacture in parallel to the P4's on their awesome manufacturing process. I have seen Itanium, PIII, P4, Celeron, Chipsets, and Strong ARMS all in the same factory in Chandler, AZ.

that's find and dandy, but why would intel put in all the r&d to produce a ppc compliant product when they already have the pc market cornered?


Whether by buying a license or inventing an ingenious workaround, making PPC's would give them one more edge on AMD and Sun and that's what Intel really cares about.

it wouldn't give them an edge because amd is only producing x86 chips and for the server market they need to fix itanium and quick, not jump ship to ppc?!


With Motorola soon to be out of the picture and IBM concentrating on G5's I can't think of a better company to fill in Apple's 32bit gap. Heck, I wouldn't mind Intel making both 32bit and 64bit CPU's for Apple.

they don't need anyone to fill the 32-bit gap because there is no gap. the g5 is completely and natively backwards compatible with 32-bit code. on top of that ibm is manufacturing a new g3 750gx or some such thing that will be 32-bit with altivec, but for low power applications, read ibooks.


Never fear, Wintel will forever be inferior because of all the corporate boundaries between making just one system. It's worse than government red tape.

ever wonder why they call it the wintel hegemony? because there aren't very many corporate boundaries. both companies work very closely. they are currently redesigning the pc bios to suit their needs.


Reevaluate Intel and think about what will carry Apple into the next 20 years. It’s not going to be a foundry fab at IBM.

if you've watched the g5 promo video you would know that they already have prototypes for the 980 successor to the 970 (read g5). supposedly the 980 is going to have 4 processor cores, thus making it four times as fast as a 970 at the same clock speed. also 980 clock sppeds are supposed to go from 3GHz to about 5GHz. and ibm is developing the 990 and 9900 which should top out at about 20GHz in 2010. but it's not just speed, it's the parallelism that makes ibm's chips better. i do realize that intel has it's own hyperthreading, but ibm's implementation has less overhead and is therefore superior.
 
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Gyroscope

macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2002
185
0
Maybe one of reasons why I always prefered Mac over Win/Dos based PC's is that they were not based on Intel CPU's. Don't know what has been going inside Sculley's cranium lately but it seems that guy is full of his past regrets or is he just plain full of ****. It has to be remembered that when Apple introduced original Mac in 84 Motorola MC68000 was running circles around best Intel offering at the time(80286 aka i286). Five years down the track (late 80's) Motorola MC 68030 was still runing circles around i386. So he is saying that Apple should have gone through whole process of rewriting its OS and ask developers to port their apps to x86(around this time Adobe just came out with PhotoShop, took them years later to port it to Intel and it was major Mac selling point for some years) just for sake of moving onto more or less inferior architecture?? I think that would have been pure suicide. Intel's first semi-decent CPU was PentiumPro and it came around 1996(years later)
Speaking of regrets, my personal regret is that Sculley and his prodige Spindler ever came to Apple.
 
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EvilMole

macrumors member
Oct 8, 2003
72
0
Originally posted by nuckinfutz
I'm not a CEO but moving to Intel would have been disasterous.

Imagine it folks.

Mactel- P4 3.2Ghz Computer $2999

Wintel P4 3.2Ghz Computer $2499

How would Apple differentiate it's product from wintel. Same processor. I know they don't think people would actually pay more for design knowing they innards where the same.

Yeah, right. Because the only difference between Macs and PCs is the processor.
 
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roy_dan

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2003
28
0
Kevib, I appreciate your critical dissection of my post, but I will stand by the errors of my ways.

If I understand it correctly, IBM is making G5’s out of one of its foundry fabs. Just like TSMC, they are leasing out manufacturing resources time to companies who can’t make their own chips. IBM is only a design partner so it’s not like they can’t drop the whole product line at a heartbeat. There are other companies who will fill in the business for IBM. It’s scary to think it, but what if there were catastrophic failures in IBM’s leadership, business model (again), or earnings and they had to start shedding overhead. If for what ever reason IBM sold that fab like Digital did in Hudson who would Apple turn to? That’s really where I’m coming from by advocating for Intel.

Why would Intel make an IA alternative when P4’s are such a cash cow? I don’t have all of the answers but Intel takes risks all the time (one of their core values) and they are obviously actively pursuing Apple. Maybe not AMD so much but 64bit Mac-Unix servers to take on Sun, now you have some important peoples attention.
 
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EvilMole

macrumors member
Oct 8, 2003
72
0
Re: Re: What's wrong with Intel? Intel GOOD, Microsoft BAD

Originally posted by kevib
uh, yeah actually they do. they both want complete market share. also, as we speak they are working hard to more closely tie the os with the hardware. soon the only os you'll be able to run on intel hardware will be windows.

LOL if you seriously think for one minute that Apple doesn't want "complete market share" you're very naive. Apple is a business, and the job of any business is always to make more money, and the way you do that is to grow your market share. Apple isn't some hippy-dippy commune, it's a tough, competitive capitalist enterprise that's as ruthless as any other.

What's more, you're also factually inaccurate. Far from "the only OS you'll be able to run on Intel" being Windows, Intel has been a major investor in Linux companies, notably both Red Hat and SuSE. In fact, Intel has a pattern of investing in any alternative to Windows that runs on its processors - including Be.
 
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