Power chip

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2004-12-13 Print this article Print

Consider the success of IBMs Power chip line. Although a lot of the interest this year has been about the restructuring at Intel as it reconsiders the wisdom of always emphasizing chip speed over other attributes, there is more to the chip business than Intel versus AMD. Apple uses the Power chip line, IBM is making a big push in China (Lenovos home turf) with Power to be the engine for Linux and the Power5 processor recently made a huge leap in performance to a secure first place in the TPC-C benchmark. For IBM, all this adds up to it realizing that the real business and strong margins in the corporate world are in the server area as well as in the middleware managing the applications on those servers. It does not add up to IBM bailing out of hardware.

While ThinkPad laptops are almost iconic in the corporate world, the desktops from IBM (quick, what is the name of IBMs desktop line?) are unknowns. The desktop world is quickly resolving into a few really big names (Dell, HP) and a big range of smaller, very focused companies. Those smaller companies have a geographical focus, such as the local white-box PC builder, or a vertical focus, such as MPC Computers (formerly Micron), which makes great boxes mostly for the government marketplace. Even IBMs marketing and financial muscle would be sorely taxed in trying to reclaim a top spot in the workstation world. By the way, the desktop-line machines are called ThinkCentres.

Is the focus on Power, selling off the desktop/laptop line and the push behind Linux and middleware, in part, payback for the decline and fall of the relationship between IBM and Microsoft over the development (or nondevelopment) of IBMs OS/2 operating system and Windows? Most would say that split is long-ago history, but Im not so sure.

Editor in Chief Eric Lundquist can be reached at eric_lundquist@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

Since 1996, Eric Lundquist has been Editor in Chief of eWEEK, which includes domestic, international and online editions. As eWEEK's EIC, Lundquist oversees a staff of nearly 40 editors, reporters and Labs analysts covering product, services and companies in the high-technology community. He is a frequent speaker at industry gatherings and user events and sits on numerous advisory boards. Eric writes the popular weekly column, 'Up Front,' and he is a confidant of eWEEK's Spencer F. Katt gossip columnist.

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