back to article Why has sexy Apple gone to bed with big boring IBM?

Shocked by IBM's deal to sell and support iPads and iPhones in the enterprise? You only have to look at Jean Pigozzi's photo of Steve Jobs in his younger, rebellious years to see just how far apart "cool" Apple once was from "legacy" IBM. He was pictured flipping the middle finger to the stuffed shirts at IBM while standing …

  1. Joe Gurman


    The only thing 'all-colour" on the original, 128K Mac was the logo. The display, if memory serves, was one bit deep.

    1. Wyrdness

      Re: All-colour?

      Yes, the picture is from 1983, the first monochrome Macs were launched in January 1984 and the colour Macintosh 2 in 1987.

      At that point, I assumed that the author is clueless and didn't bother reading further.

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: All-colour?

        The yout' of today have no idea how things really were back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

        The original Mac: 1 bit display. Not even grayscale. One bit. 512 x 342. A Moto 68000, 7.8something MHz. One 400 kB floppy (you could add a second, external, floppy. Hard drive? We've heard of them.) 128 kB RAM, a large chunk of which was needed by the OS.

        1. Irony Deficient

          Ah, glory days

          IBM released its first boring personal computer in 1981, a couple of years before that first beautifully conceived Macintosh was thrown at it.

          Confounded whippersnapper journalists. Decede ab agro meo!

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    A picture worth a thousand words?

    "Steve Jobs in his younger, rebellious years flipping the middle finger to the stuffed shirts at IBM"

    Or pointing to their logo and saying "I'm going to work with these wonderful people one day".

  3. Daedalus Silver badge

    In a world...

    ...where spell checking is built into everything but the fridge, you'd thing taht three would be no possibility of publishing an article that mis-spelled "that" and "there".

    1. Black Plague

      Re: In a world...

      Glad someone else noticed.

      I love El Reg, but there seems to be a pretty low proof-reading standard for articles on here.

      I usually find at least one obvious misspelling per article...this piece was particularly egregious.

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: In a world...

        Just for fun I pasted the article into Word and ran the checker. A lot of tech-ese got flagged, as you might expect, including iPhone etc. The "three" didn't get flagged directly but the adjacent verb "exists" was flagged for inconsistency with "here three". Certain dangling phrases were caught, as were Mr. Clarke's neologisms. Maybe the last items, all too frequent on the Reg, were the reason for not bothering to run a checker.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In a world...

      Personally I like the idea of the limited 'pallet' of devices - can you just go into the warehouse and help yourself?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: In a world...

        > "Android grew at 127 last year while the market share of iOS shank."

        This hot weather is making my brain slow, too - it took me a little while to work out that 'shank' should be 'share'.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In a world...

      This is the second decade of the 21st century.

      Who'd buy a fridge without spell check?

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    and the little one said "roll over"

    > how far apart "cool" Apple once was from "legacy" IBM

    Not as far as you'd ever think.

    Even in those faraway days when Apple computers were "cool", they still depended totally on IBM for their PowerPC processors.

    So while Apple likes to present itself to the media as being trendy, innovative and iconic it's important to remember that it always has been and still is today, dependent on other large (if generally out-of-sight) suppliers of parts and services for the success of its business.

    Whether that was boring old IBM to provide Apple with processors that it couldn't make itself, or far-eastern sweatshops to do its assembly or even getting into bed with it's arch rival (Samsung) to share in developing iPhone processors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: and the little one said "roll over"

      "So while Apple likes to present itself to the media as being trendy, innovative and iconic it's important to remember that it always has been and still is today, dependent on other large (if generally out-of-sight) suppliers of parts and services for the success of its business."

      What are you whittering about?

      "...or even getting into bed with it's arch rival (Samsung) to share in developing iPhone processors."

      1. The chip fabbing deal was more than likely signed before Samsung was up to their shenanigans.

      2. The chip fabbing side of Samsung is removed from Samsung Mobile Phones. It is a completely separate business.

      3. Samsung just make them. They are not co-developed in any way, shape or form.

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: and the little one said "roll over"

        You read further than I did. I stopped when it was clear that m'man was clueless.

      2. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: and the little one said "roll over"

        > Samsung just make them. They are not co-developed in any way, shape or form.

        No, far from it. The chips use Samsung's process. it's a far closer relationship than Apple simply casting about for the cheapest price to make something that is entirely their own, 100% internally produced, design.

        Just as the Apple PowerPC chips were based on IBM's I.P and they couldn't have been produced without IBM's partnership.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          @Pete 2

          Sorry, you have a total misunderstanding of how chips are designed and made, apparently.

          Think of it like this: let's say Samsung had a Star Trek food replicator, that let you make any food that had the recipe programmed into it. Apple created the recipe, Samsung provides the replicator. Apple could (and will it sounds like this fall) take that recipe to someone else who has a food replicator. There aren't a ton of options that can handle Apple's needs and scale, but there are at least: TSMC, Samsung, Intel, Global Foundries, IBM. Maybe UMC.

          It is Apple's 100% internally produced design. There are some tweaks you need to make to it for a specific process, but that's akin to knowing that a certain oven has the temperature reading a bit high and the eggs you're given are a bit smaller than normal and making adjustments to your cake recipe to compensate.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: and the little one said "roll over"

          "Just as the Apple PowerPC chips were based on IBM's I.P and they couldn't have been produced without IBM's partnership.'

          That'd be the AIM partnership founded in the early 90's specifically to develop the PowerPC line of processors; Moto to fab them, IBM to put them in servers, Apple to put them in desktops. They developed them together using each others IP.

          You seem to be under the impression that this is a "weakness" and the implied implications are that Apple are ultimately doomed because of such dependancies or that Apple aren't "innovative" because the didn't make the whole widget themselves. Apple have never fabbed their own processors. The Apple ][ was based around a MOS 6502; the original Mac had a 68000 processor from Motorola, so they've always used other manufacturers processors. It's not unusual or unprecedented. Businesses like Samsung are dependant on Google, Microsoft and Intel for large portions of their computing business in similar ways, oftentimes more so.

    2. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: and the little one said "roll over"

      "Even in those faraway days when Apple computers were "cool", they still depended totally on IBM for their PowerPC processors."

      Err... the early Macs were powered by Motorola processors. 68000. 68020. 68030. 68040. I remember the screaming and shouting among the more rabid twits when the first PowerMacs came out, with PowerPC CPUs... and how the nutcases were placated by a deal Apple made with IBM whereby Motorola actually produced many/most/all of the processors used in Macs. See, we're using a chip from the Evil Empire, but it's actually made by our fuzzy friends at Moto, so everything's fine. Fast forwards a few years and Apple goes with Intel and the same rabid twits explode. This time Apple tells 'em where to get off.

      Even back then (assuming that Apple computers have ceased being cool, something which is open to debate) Apple did _not_ 'depend totally' on IBM. Moto, now, that was a whole other story.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: and the little one said "roll over"

        @James O'Shea,

        After the Motorola 68xxx, when Apple went with the PowerPC, it was the AIM alliance. A was for Apple, I was for IBM and M was more Motorola. IBM played a huge role in the PowerPC architecture since it was based upon the POWER instruction set, but it is not like Motorola did nothing. Motorola did have a better AltiVec/Velocity Engine than what IBM had. Even when Apple left Motorola for the G5 to replace the G4 on the desktop side, what IBM put in the G5 wasn't as good. Motorola had years of perfecting it and IBM had an older design even though both shared the same ISA for it. The design was just better from Motorola and it was not until more recently that VMX (what IBM calls it) has been added officially into the PowerPC ISA. So now all PowerPC designs have AltiVec/Velocity Engine/VMX and IBM has improved upon it.

        Apple used Motorola as they had experience and Apple were the ones that invited them to the party with IBM. IBM approached Apple, which in turn invited Motorola. It technically was a win for all three parties. Apple got a new processor out of it. Motorola got a new processor design for little investment and got to keep Apple as a customer. IBM had another source for processors if need be gave their architecture much more exposure. It led to the G5/PowerPC 970 which was based on the POWER4 which the PPE portion of the Cell processor as well as the triple cores in the XBOX 360.

        Did Apple have a choice to leave the PowerPC? Motorola was not making much progress in faster processors; so Apple was over-clocking them. IBM couldn't get the power consumption down on the G5/970 and couldn't get to 3GHz like Steve Jobs promised. So Apple was stuck. Motorola was more interested in the embedded market anyway as that is where they were making most of their money, not selling processors to Apple. IBM wasn't making a ton either on the G5/970. So investing heavily in it was not a top priority nor new manufacturing techniques to control the heat and power requirements. If Apple stayed with Motorola for the laptop processors, the G4 was going to be about the same speed a few years later and if they stayed with IBM for the desktop processors, then maybe get to 3GHz a few years later as well. Apple was stuck and Intel already had a team dedicated to trying to get Apple to switch. So Apple did what they had too.

        Look at the PowerPC processors from Freescale today. The e6500 is a rather new processor and they added AltiVec back into the design and at least they now have quad cores with hyper-threading and virtualization support. It is designed for the embedded market and for host processors, they are still selling the 74xx line but they at least have a dual-core option now and you can get up to 1.8GHz. The G4 was the 74xx line which they call the cores e600 these days. So where would Apple be today, maybe over-clocking a 7448 from 1.8GHz to 2GHz and having dual cores?

  5. Kay Burley ate my hamster


    Skipped to the end, at least El Reg remembered Power PC, many (the verge, bbc) had forgotten.

    However my point? I don't really have one.They were never competitors, there was never any hate, it was just a marketing campaign.

    Apple embraced the IBMPC platform in the end didn't they, perhaps they need to move back to RISC now that ARM is getting to Intel like levels of processing...

  6. Kristian Walsh Silver badge


    Apple ditched Motorola, not IBM. Moto supplied the G1 (601) G2 (603),G3 (74x) and G4 (74xx) chips used in Apple products.

    The only IBM part ever shipped in an Apple product was the PowerMac G5, a server chip pressed into desktop duties... with server cooling: a friend of mine who had one said he was glad he didn't have a cat, as he would be afraid that he might start a build just as said animal was walking past the front of the case, and be sucked through the machine to emerge as bloodied feline spaghetti from the back. Serious fans. And serious NOISE!

    In the end, Motorola's concentration on embedded, while providing stellar power managment for Apple laptops, caused the PowerPC Macs to fall further and further behind Intel in raw performance, even when you took into account the "Megahertz Myth" (yes, Intel's pipelines were longer, but not that much longer)

    What really killed PowerPC's prospects was the move to NeXT/MacOSX : this OS was built with gcc, a compiler that, despite the best efforts of some brilliant people at Apple, was structured around producing good x86 code, even if that meant sub-optimal code for other CPUs (several high-level optimisations were used that only make sense for Intel x86), so now not only was the OS on slower hardware, it was also not running very well optimised code..

    IBM's strength these days is as a global IT solutions provider, not a parts maker... if there's any link between Apple and IBM, it will be here.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    > Companies will, from a limited pallet, let employees


    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Edit

      The handsets are stacked in boxes on a pallet and the employees get to pick one from the pallet. It's actually the range of handsets that is limited, not the pallet.

  8. Pax681

    MONEY is why !!!!

    they have worked together before.

    The powerPC was a join venture by the AIM alliance.. namely Apple,IBM and Motorola.

    and the reason they worked together before will be the same as now... MONEY......

    plain and simple.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    150 IBM applications?

    I'm not aware of a single one. Perhaps bad marketing from IBM's part. Anyway, when was the last time IBM was able to launch an application that interested anyone? I can't remember, IBM has not been able to write any software worth using since the mainframe days. OS/2 almost was there but they gave up just when they were about to get it right. And we're talking about applications, not Operating Systems.

    So if these 150 apps exists at all I'm sure that they will be an abomination of a user interface, molasses slow and only compatible with a specific version and revision number of the OS. That is, if they don't also sort of work with some Tivoli component whose inner workings are a mistery for all but three people in planet earth. And so on.

    IBM is culturally unable to create anything user friendly. Their very own DNA -and profits- come from exactly the opposite mindset: create something so difficult to use and understand that you need the help of IBM to run it.

    1. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: 150 IBM applications?

      Let's see... a quick look at the app store reveals:

      lots of collaboration software (five different apps on the first page...) plus engineering stuff, business analytics, You know, boring enterprise stuff. And, yes, I'm just counting the stuff which actually has 'IBM' listed as the vendor. There's lots more that is clearly targeted IBM stuff, including a terminal emulator which does an excellent job of imitating an IBM green-screen. And then there's the fluff, such as the ability to get hold of (shudder) IBM Systems Magazine (Mainframe Edition). The horror. The horror.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 150 IBM applications?

        Ah well, you mean all the stuff IBM has been acquiring over the years. I was referring to apps developed by IBM. Of which perhaps only the terminal emulator is a valid example (the ability to get IBM Systems Magazine is likely outsourced also)

  10. hypernovasoftware

    Microsoft offers security?

    "But Microsoft offers the enterprise something Apple doesn’t: security and familiarity."

    That statement says loads about the author.

  11. LDS Silver badge

    What will kill iPad and iPhone sales?

    A Notes/Domino app....

    1. GregC

      Re: A Notes/Domino app....

      It's called Notes Traveler. I have to use it (actually the Android version in my case) as our work email is Notes, and especially since the latest update it's actually not too bad - and I mean not bad as an email app, not just in comparison to the desktop stuff.

      I can only assume that the team responsible for the abomination that is Notes on the desktop weren't allowed anywhere near the mobile app....

  12. returnmyjedi

    My God, they're full of stars...

    Hence forth I shall refer to Apple as Bqqmf. Cookie, Cookie, give me your enterprise share do...

    1. returnmyjedi

      Re: My God, they're full of stars...

      Or perhaps Zookd. I really didn't think this through.

  13. Dale Loyd

    Overly redundant (again and again)

    "Apple’s iPad is 36 per cent of the tablets with the iPad."

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Overly redundant (again and again)

      Yes, it obviously should have read "Apple’s iPad is 36 per cent of the iPad tablets with the iPad".

      Rookie mistake.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple’s dominance of corporate devices."

    Citation needed

  15. Philip Lewis

    "How does Apple stop the iPad and iPhone following the Mac into six per cent market share?"

    This statement implies that the Mac moved DOWN to 6%.

    Not a truth statement, which the article implies.

    really, this article is a load of bollocks

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Before the IBM PC became available, Apple had a bigger market share of the "Personal Computer" business. Then the "PC" took off, and the market grow bigger and bigger, but Apple market share shrunk.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Look at who authored it. Infact, look at the headline, you don't need to see who authored it. Hamill is a living, breathing hack.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        It would seem that you *do* need to see who authored the article.... it wasn't Mr Hamill.

  16. PghMike

    Apple should work with IBM

    One thing that always amazed me is how poor Apple's service is for businesses. They'll be happy to pay a little more to be able to bring in a laptop to the Apple store and get someone to fix it right then and there, or swap its drive into a new chassis.

    Teaming up with IBM, which understands business service much better than Apple, is a good idea.

    It *doesn't* mean that Apple is losing its cool. To me, it means that Apple noticed that it is leaving a *ton* of money on the table by being obtuse to the needs of businesses.

    I'm still much happier with my family iPhones, which never get viruses, than I would be with an Android phone whose store is littered with malware. And there's no way I'm buying a Windows phone -- ever. Microsoft has achieved that rare combination of banality, incompetence and arrogance that would prove instantly fatal to a company that didn't have a constant income stream from desktop Windows. I'm certainly not going to inflict their system on anyone I care about.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe not a good time for entering corporate use

    At least where I work, the last three MacOS releases have not received kind words. They're getting too buggy and they're tuned for running small applications. Virtual machines and databases grind to a halt and some machines have broken SMB clients.

  18. NormDP

    Every sexpot needs a sugar daddy.

  19. All names Taken

    Apple knows ...

    ... if Apple continues to make things better than the rest it can charge more than the rest and besides it does do things better than the rest no?

    I mean, try finger-swiping or hand-swiping a big 60" monster than gets smeared with human plaque, spittle, slavourings, speach splatter, ... or use a 3" by 2" finger swipe pad?

    Sheesh - u hugh-manz

  20. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Apple is partnering with IBM because IBM still has impressive share in the enterprise...

    Next question?

  21. ben_myers

    With whom else are they gonna go to bed?

    Apple and IBM need each other right now. Apple needs IBM for the iPhone and iPad to become the corporate go-to devices. Exeunt Blackberry stage left. Apple is attractive to IBM because it has been obsessive about controlling just what software goes onto its fondleslabs, which, like all things Mac, don't have as many security gaping security holes as Windows and Android devices. And IBM needs Apple because IBM is not longer in the low-end commodity hardware biz of any kind. Gee, what else is there to say?

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