There are so many things that software giant Microsoft could do with a seasoned chip designer of the caliber of Marc Tremblay, it's a wonder Sun would ever let him get away in the first place. As we pointed out yesterday, not everything that Tremblay helped etch into silicon at Sun turned into gold. But plenty of the chips he …
"So what does Microsoft want with Tremblay?"
Same as any other "distinguished engineer" or similar employed by Microsoft Research (eg Cutler of VMS and NT fame, Gordon Bell of PDP+VAX fame, C.A.R. Hoare of quicksort and CSP fame).
Bill wants to make sure these folk stay working inside/for the Wintel ecosystem rather than outside working (or speaking) against the Wintel folks.
It's a good return on investment for MS, to pay these good folks so much money that they couldn't really refuse it, even if it means they have to do nothing in particular except toe the Wintel party line while pursuing their own personal research interests.
Did it really need anything more explanation than that?
Isn't it obvious?
Microsoft want to port Vista to SPARC CMT chips, they're the only things fast enough to run it.
I think you're right.
Another project led by a seriously competent bloke, Jonathan Shapiro, for building a decent kernel (coyotos) from a mathematically verifiable language (bitc) is now suddenly dead. MS bought him out. I don't blame him, not at all, but the project which was of real value is instantly not a threat to MS now. So a (potential) alternative and utterly rock-solid linux kernel is no more.
MS is playing a long game. Clever but low & vicious.
BTW TPMorgan: "seasoned chip designer of the caliber of Marc Tremblay" - is he one of the guys who designed the sparc with its register window? Proper competent bit of work that was. Cost sun badly.
Good for Marc
Good for Marc that he got a soft landing. I remember him from Boelter Hall. He was one of those SPICE gurus. What a place that Boelter Hall. No need for antialiasing to film because the building shook for a natural sub-pixel blur. On the 2nd floor, overlooking the parking lot where stacks of hexagonal graphite rods were stored, formalydehyde from the medical cadavers would drift into the programming lab on a hot day during the summer. And Boelter had a little electric Tokamak fusion device in the basement that got up to 0.25 webers per square meter. Those were the days!
The Next Moves of Tremblay & Microsoft
Writer says, "For Sun, Tremblay's departure to Microsoft is both embarrassing and disturbing. Not so much for the short term as for the long term of the Sparc processor and its related server platforms."
I wonder if RoCK incarnation that is on-track for Q4 release is really such an amazing processor that Microsoft wants to get some software working on it?
SUN has finished integrating the full CIFS stack onto OpenSolaris (for Intel & SPARC) - this does make some opportunity for Microsoft to stretch it's wings onto SPARC again.