64 Bits

By eweek  |  Posted 2004-03-01 Print this article Print

IBMs embrace of Intels Itanium and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron has been described as lukewarm. What direction is IBM going with these 64-bit technologies? I wouldnt say its our commitment that is lukewarm. … Were ready to deliver products if the market acceptance is stronger. We positioned ourselves to deliver it by using the same technologies. Now, is HP more committed to [Itanium]? Id say HP probably is more committed to it because theyre moving all of their HP-UX PA-RISC stuff and the Alpha products and the Tandem products and everything to it. We did not do that. We say that if you want a 16-way system with Itanium, we have one that will cost 60 percent of what HPs does and it does fine. I personally think HP will have some difficulty in migrating all these various platforms to the Itanium base, but thats their problem, thats not my problem.
In terms of Opteron … you have a lot of people today—a lot of customers, a lot of software companies—saying, "I would much prefer if I could run the current IA-32 applications that Ive invested billions in and go in a more seamless way toward 64-bit capabilities." Thats the reason the Opteron product is attractive to people in the market. It doesnt have anything to do with us.
Are customers asking you for Itanium systems, or are they taking a more wait-and-see attitude? Its more wait-and-see. … I think its pretty telling that Opteron servers outshipped Itanium servers by more than 2-to-1 in the latest IDC [numbers]. And the Opteron is pretty early in their life comparatively. Is there any worry that youre spreading yourself too thin? This is a very important point. When we started five years ago or so to get away from a mainframe development and a Unix development and an AS/400 and an Intel and [move into a] common development group, thats what gave us the opportunity to invest in all these mainline platforms and invest in future things without compromising our financial performance. If we still did it the way we used to do it, wed never been able to make these investments on whats next because it takes too much money to do whats next.


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