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IBM, Freescale Map Future Of Power Processor After Apple

The Power processor architecture soon will disappear forever from its original segment within the PC market, as Apple Computer shifts to Intel's x86 chips. But Power remains healthy, with tens of millions of units shipping each year into wide variety of applications. IBM and Freescale Semiconductor on Monday pledged to continue to promote use of Power and provide future compatibility between their product lines.

IBM and Freescale will no longer need to dedicate resources to develop Power as a PC processor, and now can concentrate on more successful and strategic end markets. That's a good thing, executives from IBM and Freescale said during a news conference on Monday.

Acknowledging that the loss of Apple as a customer could be a "short term" public relations setback for the Power architecture due to the high visibility of Apple, the executives said the future of Power is now stronger than ever.

The loss of Apple "allows us to free up resources that were tied up with competing with Intel on their home turf," said Michel Mayer, chairman and CEO of Freescale. "We have many segments now in front of us where both the volume and innovation are more significant [than Apple]. It was not a good utilization of our resources to continue to fight Intel. We'll let [Advanced Micro Devices Inc.] do that, and they do it well. We are selling millions and millions of Power architecture processors in many segments across the world, and [Apple] was a tiny, tiny piece of the iceberg."

IBM and Freescale specifically pledged to collaborate in developing a common instruction set architecture for future Power processors, and in developing innovations that will extend Power into a broader set of customer implementations. The companies also will share information on each other's roadmaps, work to enable Linux implementations on Power, and expand the Power ecosystem through marketing programs.

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