Here Comes Vader

The Evil Empires are getting into the PC business.

Just to refresh your memories, here’s what the architecture of the XBox2 is supposed to look like. Maybe multiple 3.5GHz processors is a pipedream, but IBM can make 2.5GHz processors today, and that isn’t going to look too shabby against either Intel or AMD dual cores.

Here’s what we said about the possibility of this nine months ago:

While we’ve all been looking at Intel and AMD (with an occasional glance at Via), somebody else could be sneaking up from behind.

It’s called the XBox2.

Stop thinking you’re you, and pretend you’re one of your Joe Sixpack friends.

Wouldn’t an XBox2 that could do a few PC things be good enough for them?

Who is backing XBox2? Well, there’s Microsoft. And there’s IBM.

IBM doesn’t really have much of a stake in the PC industry. It wouldn’t have much to lose from a revolution that sent the big box into the historical dustbin.

Microsoft doesn’t any real stake in the heavy iron of the computer hardware industry, either. So long as it gets its money for an OS and some kind of Office; it’s happy.

One thing both parties have is money. Lots of money. Microsoft could buy AMD out of petty cash and barely notice it. IBM hasn’t been passing around the hat, either, and I bet there are a few would-be Darth Vaders in the company still traumatized by IBM losing the PC market in the late eighties, and might want to play a little “Empire Strikes Back.”

They could afford to lose a lot of money trying to make XBox2 a new PC standard for the average Joe.

If these two get together, if you’re Intel, be very, very afraid.

This is not to say that they will do it, or probably will do it, or even just may decide to take on Intel and the way things are today in the PC world.

It is to say that XBox2 would put them in position to do it if they so chose.

The PC world is much different today than it was when the initial XBox came out. Not too many people were saying they had enough PC power back then.

What are they saying now?

It is something to keep an eye on over the next eighteen months or so.

Indeed, it was.

Yes, late 2006 is a long ways away. Yes, neither MS nor IBM have admirable track records selling consumer computers/computer components, and may not give such products a full push. Yes, this might end up looking a little underpowered two years from now (but try to say with a straight face that three multi-GHz processors and a 500MHz GPU isn’t enough for Grandma).

But if you’re Intel floundering around, of whom are you going to be seriously scared? A company on German taxpayer life-support, or two of the biggest companies in the computer world? One of them has billions and billions of dollars it doesn’t even know what to do with. The other is just IBM.

Jeez, just how often do you see Intel in the role of being the little guy?

Maybe this is why MS has lately been so nicey-nice to everyone mad at it, throwing bushels of money around to settle monopolistic disputes and suits. It plans on playing some serious Monopoly soon.

And if this is enough to make Intel execs defecate water, what about AMD?


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