PPC: It's A Buyer's Market (7/23/01)

Are you one of those Mac fans that hopes and prays that someday Apple will buy the PowerPC business from Motorola outright, and develop its own chips for Macs in-house? Well, if you are, then Wall Street agrees with you-- sort of. At the very least, analysts are nagging the Big M to do something with its flagging semiconductor business; as we've seen previously, Motorola's chipmaking arm lost a fairly whopping $381 million last quarter, and investors are none too pleased. According to a Wall Street Journal article pointed out by faithful viewer John Bryan, analysts are "putting pressure" on Motorola to "cut its losses and sell or spin the unit off-- or at the very least shrink it."

While Apple likely wouldn't care much for Motorola's overall semiconductor business (which seems to crank out chips for use in mobile phones, mostly), we can't help but recall those rumors that Apple will have the option to buy the PowerPC portion of that beleaguered division next year for the low, low price of half a billion dollars. Well, okay, so the price isn't that low at all, but maybe Motorola will cut Apple a "Please Bail Us Out" discount or something. The point is, even at full (rumored) price, Apple has more than enough cash in the bank to take the PowerPC off Motorola's red-ink-stained hands. In an ideal world, Apple could shell out significantly less just to take control of the PowerPC G4 and G5 projects and leave all that non-Mac-specific stuff behind.

Mind you, this is all just idle speculation based on unfounded rumor topped with a hefty helping of "Wouldn't It Be Nice If." For its part, Motorola doesn't want to part with its semiconductor business, and today announced a plan to shore up its sagging profits by selling its mobile phone chips to other phone manufacturers. Whether or not that'll work remains to be seen, but if Motorola ever does become amenable to the idea of selling off part of its chip division, we bet Steve would make some of those PowerPC engineers right comfortable in sunny Cupertino.

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The above scene was taken from the 7/23/01 episode:

July 23, 2001: If you were bored silly by it the first time through, Jon Rubinstein's "The Megahertz Myth" might be more interesting now that the uncertainty of the keynote is over. Meanwhile, rumors hint that Apple continues to make progress on its upcoming "iPhoto" consumer image-editing application, and Wall Street begs Motorola to bail on the chip-making business altogether...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3191: Time's Up; Pencils Down (7/23/01)   Whew, we're back! Trust us, it ain't all beer and skittles; when you're trying to produce a daily soap opera while living out of a suitcase in an unfamiliar land, Macworld Expo is an overall positive experience, but an extremely challenging one-- and that's not even counting the herculean task of lugging ninety pounds of AtAT t-shirts across Manhattan during the midday traffic snarl...

  • 3192: Everybody Say "Cheese!" (7/23/01)   In light of the glaring absence of LCD iMacs, 14-inch iBooks, Apple-branded Lean Mean Grilling Machines, or any other jaw-dropping hardware that some people were expecting at last week's Stevenote, we plumb near forgot about what was missing on the software side of the fence...

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