It’s the operating system, stupid

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So the big news is that Apple is switching to use Intel processors (from IBM) in their computers. There’s lots of speculation as to what the motivating factors are, but as Tim Bray notes: there are a few Really Big Secrets that very few people and no journalists know: one of them is how much box-builders like Apple, HP, Dell, and Sun pay chip-builders like Intel, IBM, and AMD. I bet that when whoever at Apple sat down across the table from whoever at Intel the negotiation was complicated and involved lots more than the per-chip cost.

I don’t think this switch really makes much difference for users of desktop computers, and it shouldn’t be seen as a big deal. Those of us who choose to use OS X on the desktop find that it’s a compelling user experience for a variety of reasons (I wrote about my reasons last year). As long as Apple can continue to build on that user experience and people all over the world can provide good applications for the platform, I believe that Apple will continue to be successful.

There will of course be the inevitable transition pains for application developers, particularly those who write compiled applications in languages like C++ (another reason to like scripting languages).

And, as I wrote to our local Apple rep yesterday, if switching to Intel means I can get a faster and/or lighter and/or cooler OS X notebook, I’m all for it!

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