IBM to Apple: We Have the Right Watts

An IBM executive says Apple's claim that Intel can beat it on power isn't true.

SOMERS, N.Y.—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 IBMs 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 Apples product lines, including portables such as the PowerBook, said Rod Adkins, vice president of development for IBMs Systems and Technology Group, which produces IBMs PowerPC chips.

Adkins countered Apple CEO Steve Jobs assertion, made during the keynote address at Apples 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 But "Obviously I have a different point of view, because theres nothing about power architecture that limits you in any way in terms of power management or power efficiency."

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to see analyst Peter Glaskowskys opinion on IBM and Apples move to Intel.

IBM PowerPC chips could cover Apples entire product line, Adkins said.

But instead he said the nature of Apples 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. Thats where we collaborated deeply with Apple," Adkins said.

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

Next Page: How Intel won out.