IBM to Apple: Watt Me Worry?

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Apple Computer Inc.'s worries about watts are unfounded, according to IBM.

Apple said earlier this month that it will switch to Intel chips from PowerPC chips as IBM's future PowerPC processors' projected power consumption will make them too difficult to design into future Apple systems.

But IBM begs to differ. The company could build PowerPC chips that satisfy the needs of the entire range of Apple's product lines, including portables such as the PowerBook, said Rod Adkins, vice president of development for IBM's Systems and Technology Group, which produces IBM's PowerPC chips.

Adkins countered Apple CEO Steve Jobs' assertion, made during the keynote address at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this month, that future Intel chips will offer lower power consumption and therefore yield greater performance per watt of electricity consumed than future PowerPCs.

"Our point of view is that was somewhat misleading," said Adkins, who oversees product development for the Systems and Technology Group.

"Apple positioned it that way in the public," Adkins said in an interview with eWEEK.com. But "Obviously I have a different point of view, because there's nothing about power architecture that limits you in any way in terms of power management or power efficiency."

IBM PowerPC chips could cover Apple's entire product line, Adkins said.

But instead he said the nature of Apple's relationship with IBM, including the fact that it had another processor supplier in Freescale Semiconductor Inc., is what limited the IBM chip roadmap available to it, Adkins said.

"They had Freescale primarily for the low-end and mobile solutions, and they really had IBM focus more on PowerBook, xServe and iMac. That's where we collaborated deeply with Apple," Adkins said.

But "There's really nothing in the architecture that prevents having an end-to-end line that can serve [all of] their needs."

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