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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Alliance in business

Everyone is upset suddenly about this link that’s sprung up between Skype and Intel. The story that’s running is that the new version of Skype due out will be able to handle a 10 way voice call. Only, and here is the kicker, if it is running on an Intel processor. This outrages the freedom geeks. To be honest I personally don’t have 10 friends online at any one time and if I did they certainly wouldn’t want to speak to each other about anything. So I doubt the limit is ever gonna cause me a problem. Is it fair though ? I’m a free market economist, businesses can, I believe; take action to benefit mutually conducive aims and goals and yes profits. I don’t have total confidence in the altruism of business if left to it’s own devices however this action is not particularly destructive to the fabric of society. Even if taken to an extreme this might help re-enforce market dominance of Intel, is this though going to run AMD out of the market ? Until a month there was an alternative, iChat could do multi voice and multi video and had nothing to do with Intel. Now however that is running on the Intel core duos. Do I believe there should some kind of anti trust investigation, or legislation ? This is hardly the market domination we’ve seen from Apple or Microsoft. No. If I want to make a product that will only run on mac, or windows should I be punished ? No. This isn’t even that extreme the new Skype still runs on AMD, just it’s missing a feature. No word from Skype about whether there is a real technical issue as to this limitation as yet. It is a deal between a hardware manufacturer and a software vendor – nothing new. If users are that bothered, I say what I always say, vote with your feet. Don’t like it then don’t use it. There are alternatives, for the mac brigade iChat with multiple video. I’m sure multi voice isn’t that far off on MSN. Until then those popular users who want an orgy of conversation will have to wait the matter of hours it will take for the community to remove the hardware verification checks.
I was considering this AM in light of this Skype revelation and the alliance with Apple, is Intel in an ascendance again despite by all accounts not being necessarily the best processor ? What am I about to buy into, when I finally pony up the money, when I get my MacBook Pro ordered ? It is an Intel machine, no longer are mac users getting something completely different from standard PCs. It used to be the entire architecture that was superior, a technical advancement. You used to be able to easily argue back at ignorant PC users who preached the MHz myth. Despite the fact that on paper the macs had less RAM and slower processors. The retort was “Well it’s a completely different processor so the number doesn’t need to be as big because the mac uses it differently”. Originally I thought Apple had co created the specification docs for the first Apple Intel processor ever. Hence when Steve launched the machines the clock speed was a bit lower still than PC machines, it still didn’t matter because I thought they’d co-created the architecture, like they had done with IBM previously. Then I saw reports that someone had taken their new iMac and swapped out the processor supplied with the iMac and put a new standard Intel core duo in and it worked no problem. So what are we getting when we buy apple now that is different to your average computer Joe ? Still plenty; stability, ease of use, security, iLife suite and of course macs have that legitimate coolness factor that they’ve always used to justify the elevated cost. You are getting two cores - of only 32 bits a piece, what is that about ? From a marketting point of view apple hammered home the numbers when they had 64 bits for addressin, how is the Jobs reality distortion gonna sweep this one under the carpet ? Well by all accounts it's faster, much faster. Is it enough ? I think so; I am about to sink a large amount of resource in to the newest member of my mac family.


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