The Rumor Mill

Macs to Have Intel Inside

- 2000.11.14

I'm sure you've seen the tag line: Intel Inside, the world's most popular warning label. Well, if our source is correct, Intel may have the last laugh when it comes to the Macintosh.

In a huge surprise to the computer industry, Motorola is giving up on the PowerPC chip and selling its PPC business to Intel. Motorola has been unable to produce high yields of chips above 500 MHz, while Intel is already pushing 1.4 GHz with the Pentium 4 and has better manufacturing capabilities. Intel is able to quickly ramp up high speed processors with a high yield.

Intel has factories under construction in Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Colorado, and Massachusetts. Sources close to the deal say that Intel will soon outfit these factories not only for Intel Pentium 4 processors but for the PowerPC G4 processor as well. Sources also say that Intel has already acquired a site in the Nevada desert, code named Area 52, so they can produce small amounts of the superfast G4 chip "immediate after the deal closes."

Most of this information has been difficult to obtain, but Motorola sources have revealed that Motorola is selling all its PPC-related patents to Intel. The deal is similar to the way Intel acquired the Alpha processor from Digital.

It is not known what will happen to the PowerPC under Intel's direction. Sources says that Intel is not likely to change the name of the chip, but it may merge the Pentium architecture with the PowerPC to create a hybrid chip. This hybrid would be backwards compatible with older x86 apps, but allow the PowerPC to have the majority of the processing capabilities. (Remind anyone of the PowerPC 615 project long rumored from IBM?) These changes are many years off and will need a great bit of work.

This deal gives Intel an edge in the microprocessor wars, since it has "missed the boat" on the P4 and has been losing market share to AMD and its Athlon processors.

Sources says that Apple has been involved in the discussion since the beginning and may have started the deal. This helps explain the ongoing rumors of an x86 build of Mac OS X.

Motorola will continue to make other chips and computer components. The price of the deal is unknown. Sources indicate that the part of the deal may be include Intel acquiring key engineers from the Texas PowerPC design facility.

This information comes from a usually reliable source (the janitor responsible for shredding documents at one of the companies involved), but we give it about as much likelihood as the recount in Florida matching two times in a row.

- Anne Onymus

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