It is the soap opera of technology. The PC wars have been raging for years. Is it Mac or PC? Windows or OSX? Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? As computing converges with home entertainment, the trials get a lot more interesting.
The game has changed in recent years. Apple has once again become a formidable hardware company with the explosion of the iPod. Now they drop long-time partner, IBM, as a provider of chips, and switch the Mac platform to Intel. That makes Bill Gates a less sexy enemy for Apple until you consider that Apple is also poised to be the greatest thing to ever come to your living room with its iTunes TV deals. And we all know about Bill Gates and his desires for your living room. He had to spend enormous amounts of cash in developing the Xbox and Xbox 360 with the hopes of being the living room hub, only to potentially get beat out by a company that went for your living room from both sides with the Mac Mini AND a software application/store in iTunes.
Also, in bringing Intel into the fold for Apple, Dell is now in the sights of Steve Jobs. Their uneasy war of words has heated back up of late.
Nine years ago, Michael Dell said the following of Apple.
More recently Apple surpasses Dell’s market value in the stock market and Jobs claims that Michael Dell should eat his nine year-old words. Mac fanatics kneel before their god and giggle at their view from atop this new high.
Speaking of Dell, they are struggling with the fact that low-end PCs don’t offer enough profit margin to make the kinds of profit leaps that Dell shareholders are used to. Couple that with the fact that Apple might be poised to capture market-share in more of Dell’s markets since they moved to Intel chips, and you have a serious rivalry forming between the two companies.
It is all entertaining stuff really. But how funny would it be if you could follow me into this fake future scenario?
Apple makes a comeback in the PC biz following their blazing iPod trail. Microsoft is hurt for once in their entire lives because they lost out in your living room because they couldn’t beat out Apple, and are losing Windows market share to Apple’s latest and greatest. Dell is hurt even more by their loss of market share in the higher margin top-end home computing market and in your living room where they haven’t been able to develop a solid media center PC. Now, Microsoft and Dell are even larger enemies of Apple than they have been in the past.
But, don’t forget another player in this fake future scenario. IBM lost their biggest chip customer when Apple switched to Intel.
Intel is now in a position that they have never been in before. They are enemy number one for Microsoft and Dell. Intel allowed Apple to come back in the PC biz. They were the back-room dealer that gave Apple the real chance to capitalize on their iPod and iTunes success by providing the chips for Apple’s next generation of PC’s.
So, what do Michael Dell and Bill Gates do? They team up in a focused effort. Unfortunately, neither one of these companies make chips. They need someone else to help them engage Apple. Who is still bitter about losing Apple as their biggest customer? IBM anyone?
IBM has continued working on their chips and they are claiming to have a chip-making technology that will enable them to reach speeds of 4-5 GHz, or almost double the speed of their previous line of chips. While there are still concerns about this technology running cool enough to work, it opens up the possibility for my fake future scenario to come into fruition.
So, at the end of the day, we would have Microsoft, Dell and IBM teaming up against Apple, and Intel in a fake future battle royale.
And if I could convince AMD and Sony to team up and come down to the squared circle, it would be a three team race. What a wild future it could be!