The New PC Wars

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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.

“What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders,” Michael Dell said before a crowd of several thousand IT executives.


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!

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About Craig Lyndall

  • Then let the format wars begin.

    MOre competition drives prices down and promotes innovation. I’m all for it.

  • I am in favor as well. Maybe it will cause a lot of these comfortable fat companies to get lean and nimble again. That would be good for us all.

  • Bob

    Ummmm Hellloooooo You kind of left off an 88 billion dollar company in HP!

  • General 3760

    IBM and AMD have already teamed up to make chips together… so you’d have AMD, IBM, DELL, and Microsoft vs. Intel and Apple. As for Sony, they have the cell processor with IBM and Toshiba 🙂 So IBM could play two positions on the field to hurt Apple!

  • HSHeads

    Seriously anybody with decent sense and newegg can make there own sick computer, cheap.

    Forget all those rich greedy bastards.

  • Darkyhand

    I know for a fact that Microsoft or Dell would want to use anchient, dieing, old technology which is IBM. IBM has been slipping and slipping even farther down the road to death and they will continue, there chips are in no way even close to comparsion to that of Intel or AMD. Dell, HP, Gateway, and Microsoft (if actually all faced a predicamnet to Intel supporting Apples) would give thier full support to AMD. Lastly, Sony will eventually drop out of the computer manufacturing race around 2010, just wait and see.

  • Not to burst the authors bubble about IPOD sticking it to Microsoft, but check out the patents that Microsoft has filed for the IPOD it’s not like they are exactly loosing out on this. The article was an interesting read, I would have to certainly agree with the HP comment and would further add that an HP/AMD partnership would be a very formidable competitor.

  • your mom

    this is just dumb, M$ has a bigger fight from sony than they do from apple. ibm doesn’t care about apple switching to intel, they where already complaining about the low number of chips apple buys from them. they are in a sweet spot now that their ppc core is used in all 3 nextgen consoles. and don’t forget one thing the bigger market share you hold the bigger target you become for the hackers in the shadows, look at firefox. if mac os x becomes more popular more security holes will be found in it.

  • bill

    let them fight for our living room so we can get better and better technology at rockbotom prices