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Daring to Dream: Apple & IBM 523

Posted by Hemos
from the an-unlikely-marriage dept.
Anonymous writes "The Register has a comment piece of the marriage (speculative) between IBM and Apple. Although wildly speculative, it is not improbable. With IBM already supplying PowerPCs to Apple and Apple having not signed up to IBM's PowerPC consortia, there are hints in this get-together. Apple would also supply IBM with the "lifestyle" side of things. If it does happen, it would be most interesting."
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Daring to Dream: Apple & IBM

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  • Can you imagine? The instabilities you've always wanted (on a Mac) but never thought you could afford?
  • Whoof (Score:5, Funny)

    by daeley (126313) * on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:16PM (#11008504) Homepage
    I just had a weird waking dream. Charlie Chaplain, on roller skates, was brandishing his cane at the Big Brother screen in the 1984 commercial.

    I need more coffee...
    • by bhima (46039)
      I'm in central Europe (therefore it's late enough to be drinking wodka) and thought much along same lines... still it's a fantastic idea

      .... I need more wodka

  • Big Brother (Score:4, Funny)

    by phloydde1 (528605) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:16PM (#11008516)
    I think the first thing that would happen if such a merger took place would be that all the copies and references to the "big brother" superbowl commercial would somehow mysteriously disappear.
  • buy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oneishy (669590) <jczebota@oneisCHICAGOhy.com minus city> on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:17PM (#11008519) Homepage
    so should I buy apple or IBM stock?
    • Re:buy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nerftoe (74385)
      More like, "which one should I short?"
    • Short neither (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      IBM has very little to lose considering it's size and product diversity. IBM will open a whole new market for apple and if apple is the target of a takeover it will command a premium, thus the value of the stock will go up.
    • Re:buy (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:59PM (#11008911)
      Noone ever got fired for buying IBM.
    • Re:buy (Score:3, Informative)

      by Loco3KGT (141999)
      Statistically speaking the company getting bought out is the one that sees a stock price increase. Of course you may have already missed the boat on Apple's stock given it's value of $65.
  • Except... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:17PM (#11008520) Homepage Journal

    IBM is a company focused on growing its services biz and Apple has none.

    Apple is primarily a B2C company and IBM is B2B.

    Cultural differences make east vs west like the definition of homogenized

    Steve Jobs and his amazing ego

    Yeah, except for a few trivial things, it could happen. Hey, frogs could grow claws and live in toilets too!

    • Re:Except... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eno2001 (527078) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:24PM (#11008589) Homepage Journal
      Hey, frogs could grow claws and live in toilets too!

      Cool! That would be akin to my lifelong dream of an asteroid passing the planet and infecting all bears with some kind of mutation that would make them as big as godzilla and give them a taste for people filled buildings. Life is too boring without that kind of thing happening more often.

      In other news... didn't Jobs market the Mac as being anti-suit, anti-corporate, anti-business, anti-IBM originally? Oh well, if we had republicans voting for Kerry and deomcrats voting for Bush this past election, ANYTHING is possible.

    • Re:Except... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:25PM (#11008595)
      • IBM is a company focused on growing its services biz and Apple has none.
      • # Apple is primarily a B2C company and IBM is B2B.

      Err... isn't that part of the whole idea? Why would you merge or buy a company for something you are already good at? The article is based around the fact that the two companies are a natural complement to each other, and these points you make merely support that hypothesis.

      • Data (Score:5, Insightful)

        by simpl3x (238301) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:00PM (#11008923)
        I agree with the assessment, but will play the devil's advocate. Under one circumstance, this makes sense. The return of the data center to the center of the computing universe. Almost everything we do now is network facilitated on a consumer level. Music, video, information... The ipod is nothing if not a terminal with storage. Mobiles are arguably the next level of the computing space.

        The old Moto/Apple/IBM alliance of mobile device platforms with services for consumers would supply the platform for extending the iTunes style of services through the computing environment. I spent Sunday getting my girlfriends router back up, and a couple of days a few months ago rebuilding her adware infested Dell into a clean terminal for writing, communicating via email, and surfing. Why?

        The world is ripe for change, and these three supply the basics for rebuilding the consumer computing space. Apple provides a clean consumer environment with such very useful technologies such as ZeroConf for transitionaing between home, work, and the road (cell/wi-fi/wired networks). IBM can supply the scalable data services, and Moto the cellular technology.

        This makes more sense than the rumors regarding Sun and Apple!
      • Re:Except... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AtrN (87501) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:13PM (#11009041) Homepage
        Why would you merge or buy a company for something you are already good at?

        To take them out of the game (although this isn't really applicable in this situation).

        • Re:Except... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rsborg (111459)
          Why would you merge or buy a company for something you are already good at?

          To take them out of the game (although this isn't really applicable in this situation).

          Correct. That's what's happening in the ORCL vs. PSFT case. It's called a hostile takeover. Watch the poison pill [mergerforum.com] court case, since this will indicate how merger-friendly the rest of the market will be. It could be a massive change in corporate legal defnse against mergers if poison pills are allowed to be removed for expedience.

    • Re:Except... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by four2five (645777) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:26PM (#11008604) Homepage
      I'll give you the ego bullet hands down, and the cultural one is also valid but I would argue the first two. As the article states, apple has tried, with limited success, to get into the HPC and business side of things. The XRAID is, $ for $, some of the best cheap/dumb disk out there. With IBM filling the high - middle end, apple could come in on the low end of business hardward and help out. With IBM pimping Apple's business products they could gain ground fast.
      IBM growing it's services biz and apple not having one is okay, they compliment each other. Apple has a reputation for building easy to use interfaces on top of *nix hardware/software. I'ved used OS X server and it makes running apache/mysql/etc. a lot easier for a *nix novice.
      I've been a long time apple fan and I would be cautious of this merger. I'd hate to see apple's "style" or whatever you want to call it formed into the mainstream by the behemouth that is big blue.
    • by mordors9 (665662) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:37PM (#11008701)
      Here's another: They knew that the Slashdotters were getting tired of the normal "Apple is going bankrupt" rumor and we needed to spice things up with a " is going to buy Apple" story.
    • Re:Except... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Gilmoure (18428) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:41PM (#11008737) Journal
      Hey, frogs could grow claws and live in toilets too!


      I found a giant tree frog in my toilet one morning. When I tried to fish him out, he retreated down the hole and I had to get to work. He wasn't there when I got home. About a month later, moving a desk, I found his mummified body.
    • by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:45PM (#11008787) Homepage Journal
      Hey, frogs could grow claws and live in toilets too!


      I have just overcome my fear of sharks in the toilet. I hope you realize you've just ruined my life.

      -Peter
    • by mveloso (325617) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:02PM (#11008943)
      IBM doesn't have to buy Apple to sell Apple products.

      Why would IBM do this? For one reason: customers are asking for it. Maybe IBM is seeing a lot of customers who want to migrate from Windows. IBM can't sell anything to them because IBM doesn't have a lot of other options. Desktop Linux is a joke (sorry). Nobody wants to wait for it to mature.

      If IBM signs on as an Apple reseller, then suddenly there's a viable Windows desktop replacement that IBM can sell.

      What does Apple get? Sales, lots more sales. IBM becomes a large business channel partner, and Apple can keep ignoring the business market (which is pretty much what it's doing now). Apple tries to make enterprise plays, but it really doesn't have the infrastructure or mentality needed to succeed in the enterprise space.

      What are the problems with this scenario? There are a bunch:

      * It's unclear that Apple could meet the increased demand.

      Apple has problems getting enough inventory to feed its own demand. This apparently is due to IBM's poor G5 yields.

      * Apple doesn't understand the needs of business computer people

      There's no on-site service, no guaranteed turnaround time, no dedicated support line for businesses. IBM would take care of this.

      * Apple's product designs are created with no input (as far as anyone can tell) from customers.

      This is a problem. Business computers have different needs than personal computers. They don't need a monitor,and need management tool integration (ARD is nice, but it needs integration with at least Tivoli, CA, and BMC).

      * Apple's product cycles are too fast

      The buying cycle for business computers is months. Apple's product cycles are a bit too fast, and they'll pop a new box out before the sales cycle is done, requiring readjustment of the sales contract. It's silly, but this is a logistical problem that needs to be fixed. At a minimum, older product needs to be available for shipment/purchase if newer models are released.

      * Apple hasn't successfully run a channel operation before

      Well, the edu channel was OK, but got whacked recently. Their dealer channel is competing with the Apple store. And basically, Apple may not be able to run a channel very well, being a consumer company.

      Don't get me wrong, the benefits to Apple would be huge. The benefits to IBM, the business world, and humanity would also be huge. But it's one thing to float an idea, and it's another to make it successful.
      • by csoto (220540) on Monday December 06, 2004 @02:14PM (#11009525)
        I am going to refute this quote:

        * Apple's product designs are created with no input (as far as anyone can tell) from customers.

        This is a problem. Business computers have different needs than personal computers. They don't need a monitor,and need management tool integration (ARD is nice, but it needs integration with at least Tivoli, CA, and BMC).


        I have met with many product managers, marketing managers, etc. and have been asked very specific questions about existing products, such as suggested improvements to existing products (down to, is it worth $100 to have X integrated, $50, $etc.) or known issues keeping us from achieving our goals (such as advanced IT training). In most cases, the majority of our requests were actually met, albeit in later products, or non-free "upgrades" to products (the same case with most proprietary software, unless you have a maintenance contract).

        So, to say that they don't listen is overblown. True, Apple is focused on the consumer/prosumer markets. But, I have been flown in to Cupertino twice to specifically address our needs. The first time, I was not expecting much. But when I saw most of our needs met by the next invitation, I was really pleased with the changes. Having just met with their Pro Apps product manager and sales director, I'm confident that they hear our message and might even do something with it.

        Apple has sucked in the past, but they suck less now...
      • by mrchaotica (681592) on Monday December 06, 2004 @02:32PM (#11009696)
        I don't think IBM would have to start selling Macs, per se; I could instead see IBM selling PPC business workstations and Thinkpads with OS X. Now that would be cool, especially if they went back to the OpenStep look. They could have the friendly-looking, candy-GUI Macs for consumers, and slate gray OpenStep workstations for businesses. This would allow them to differentiate enough so as not to cannibalize Mac sales, but still have a common software platform for compatibility.

        Maybe I got some bad crack or something, but I think it's a good idea....
      • by DansnBear (586007) <DansnBearNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 06, 2004 @03:05PM (#11010058) Homepage Journal
        * Apple doesn't understand the needs of business computer people There's no on-site service, no guaranteed turnaround time, no dedicated support line for businesses. IBM would take care of this.

        Well, I can say that your wrong on that point. I purchased an xServe from apple for my company, and I also got a 3 year support contract with it. lets see what it covers:
        AppleCare Premium Service and Support Plan. Integrated service and support for Xserve or Xserve RAID hardware and Mac OS X Server software


        One number to call for help, day or night

        One team to diagnose hardware failures and software configuration issues for fast problem resolution

        Up and running telephone and email support

        Up to three years of technical support using advanced remote management and monitoring tools

        24/7 priority access to senior technical support staff by telephone and email

        30-minute response on email and telephone calls

        Onsite hardware repairs with 4 (four) hour response time Provides consultative phone and email support for advanced Mac OS X Server integration and migration issues.

        Yes, i have had to have my xServe serviced, and they were there in the allotted time, And I also get excellent detected phone support. That was all for my own personal business. I also work for a school:
        Well, the edu channel was OK, but got whacked recently. . .

        Maybe you have not had the opportunity to work directly with Apple's education channel, but it's a little more then ok, and far from whacked. For the last 5 years, I have been purchasing computers for my program directly through the education channel and am pleased with thier service. I have an education sales agent assigned to me that helps me coordinate all my purchases, and an educational consultant to help me build solutions to work in my special environment. They've even provided me with possible funding sources for certain purchases.
    • Re:Except... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ruzty (46204) <rusty&mraz,org> on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:17PM (#11009085) Journal
      * Apple is primarily a B2C company and IBM is B2B.

      Remind me again why Cisco bought Linksys? Oh yeah, to capture the small business and consumer market to complete their large business product line.

    • Re:Except... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:43PM (#11009282) Journal
      IBM is a company focused on growing its services biz and Apple has none.
      Apple is primarily a B2C company and IBM is B2B.

      ...and both companies have long tradition in attempting to get a beachhead on the other side. Apple's beachhead on the b2b is the xServe, IBM tried many times to build their position on consumer market with "consumer" ThinkPads.

      Cultural differences make east vs west like the definition of homogenized
      Steve Jobs and his amazing ego

      Both are overrated. IBM and Apple had to overcome their cultural differences dozen years ago when their founded the PowerPC joint effort. Even then it turned out to be surprisingly easy, although there is an anecdote about IBM engineers wearing jeans and T-Shirts and their Apple counterparts wearing business suits on their first meeting - both sides wanted so badly to please the other side. It's been a long time since then, Apple is no longer a bunch of jolly hippies, IBM is no longer a deadly serious behemoth. Whatever they do together, they do it pretty well, and they did many things together since founding PowerPC platform - to name the powerbook 2400 outsourced to IBM Japan and PowerMac G5. Steve's ego also was no obstacle in striking a deal with Disney, striking a deal with Apple (to buy him back), striking a deal with RIAA to start iTunes Music Store. So I thik all the obstacles you mention actually do not exist at all.
  • IB-Apple (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:17PM (#11008522)
    IB-Apple
    i(B)Apple
    Apple'BM
    iAppleBeMe
    BeMiApp le
    ?
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:19PM (#11008541)
    Vegas chance odds for Snowball vs. Hell have gone from 1:17500 to 1:225 on news regarding this merger. Business analyst Geoff Meitzer said, "This is the snowball's best chance since Sega announced they would be making games for Nintendo."

    ...

    Seriously, how implausible would this have sounded 15 years ago?

    • Re:In other news... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mccalli (323026) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:33PM (#11008667) Homepage
      Seriously, how implausible would this have sounded 15 years ago?

      Not at all - this was being touted 15 years ago. The whole Pink/Taligent/Magic thing was an Apple and IBM alliance (I may get some codenames mixed up, anyone who knows the ones I'm looking for please jump in). I can remember reading this on the long since defunt UK weekly New Computer Express.

      It was actually more plausible then too. IBM were still a major power in the PC world, and Windows dominance hadn't completely taken over.

      Cheers,
      Ian

  • Taligent (Score:5, Informative)

    by sparkhead (589134) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:19PM (#11008544)
    Do people not remember Taligent [wildcrest.com]?
    • Re:Taligent (Score:5, Funny)

      by Speare (84249) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:56PM (#11008885) Homepage Journal
      That link does not have the wag's backstory for the name "Taligent":
      • Talent without NT, and
      • Intelligent without Intel.
    • Re:Taligent (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:17PM (#11009083)
      Do people not remember Taligent?

      I do. I worked there. I was one of the system administrators.

      You should have seen how the Apple developers (the biggest portion of the developers were from Apple) responded when they all got RS/6000 machines on their desks! They hated them. It was a big honkin' square boxy machine with a clicky keyboard, and a command line. And though the monitor was color, when it booted up, the console looked like a green screen. But it was a PowerPC machine, which they did like. (We used IBM RS/6000 Model 250 machines, which were pizza box shaped 66 MHz PowerPCs. Some of the very first PowerPC machines ever made, I believe.)

      Anyway, after a while, sometime in 1994, IBM sent over a bunch of developers. They mixed with the Apple people OK, but they were definitely from two different worlds. The IBM people all brought OS/2 machines with them, and they were just as devoted to those OS/2 machines as the Apple people were to their Macintoshes. Plus they all dressed differently and thought differently. But not entirely differently. They managed to get some work done and build some cool stuff together.

      • Re:Taligent (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nikster (462799)
        [working at IBM at that time, i suddenly had a huge RS/6000 on my desk. a very powerful machine running AIX. i managed to get Xwindows running, which seemed to be written by people out to prove that the command line is better than a GUI]

        anyway, one important thing has changed since then: Macs used to be based on OS 9 - very nice GUI with almost no technical merit. Now they run OS X, which, while still sporting a nice GUI, is technically the most advanced OS shipping. large parts of it are written in a dyna
    • Re:Taligent (Score:3, Interesting)

      by museumpeace (735109)
      hey somebody mod parent up! [I blew my mod points earlier this morning.] This is informative and casts a harsh light on all the other posts that are saying that Apple and IBM is like , well apples and oranges.
      I don't recall the dates of Steve Job's absence from Apple. Maybe all the Taligent drama played out while Jobs was off conceiving the Next Big Thing. The cultural differences and Mr Job's, uh shall we call it management style, are certainly impediments to a merger. If you think Apple won't be App
  • by dgrgich (179442) * <drew&grgich,org> on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:20PM (#11008554) Homepage
    Can anyone actually see Mr. Jobs actually going for this? I think that this rumor has as much credence as the old saw about Apple switching to an Intel/AMD processor for new Macs.

    There is absolutely NO way that Steve would let this happen. Apple is EXACTLY where they want to be - they may occupy a niche in the PC market but they are trying -- and succeeding -- at being the BMW/Porsche of personal computing rather than GM. They are making money hand over fist, increasing shareholder wealth at a nice pace, and doing all of this with some kick-ass products. Going to IBM would flark all of that up quicker than fast.
  • While such a "marriage" (read: merge?) would provide benefits for both companies, Apple could lose it's "cool" image that has helped it dominate the digital music market. IBM isn't known to be hip. Although us geeks know they are way cooler than MS, the general public envisions men in business suits when they hear IBM mentioned.

    -- n
  • They've been partners for many, many years. Long before IBM started producing the G5 for them. The G3 that Apple used in their iBooks were IBM CPUs and Apple, IBM, and Motorola were joined in the PowerPC consortia at the birth of the architecture.
    • Re:Apple & IBM (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shotfeel (235240)
      Let's not forget that all the PowerPC's (from the 601 on) were built in partnership with IBM. They are based on IBM's POWER line after all. Remember when the common hardware reference platform with IBM and Apple was going to be the future?

      Then there are all the software ventures they've worked on together. Apple and IBM have been pretty tight for a good decade now.

      IMO working together as separate companies, each doing what they do best in the way that works best for them, is a much better fit for both com
  • by artemis67 (93453) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:27PM (#11008617)
    The basis of this whole story is that Apple is absent from the PPC Consortium roster? Yikes!

    For all we know, some editor could have forgot to put Apple's name in there. Or maybe Apple is still sitting on the fence about it, who knows. But this isn't even a "rumor" yet.
  • I remember back in the late 80s there was a time when DEC and Apple were talking. DEC haveing never built a "PC" or home computer that cought on. Apple haveing no Server class systems.

    There were wispers of Vaxen as BIG MACS or MAC as a little VAX.

    My contact at the time (VP level if I remember correctly) would not talk about it in a mammer that suggested that there was something to it.
  • That's about all this is.
    Mark my word, it ain't gonna happen.
  • ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhwang (214546) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:29PM (#11008635)
    IBM exists to serve corporate customers. Large corporations are not clamoring for apple (I say this as the happy owner of an iBook).

    IBM has to have compelling reasons to think it can make money by convincing either (1) corporations to buy macs or (2) consumers to buy from IBM.

    Let's look at the price tag. Since Apple's current market cap is $25 billion dollars, IBM would have to pay something in that range to purchase Apple.

    To put things in perspective, IBM is expected to receive $1-2 billion from the sale of its existing PC business. IBM has about $10 billion in cash in the bank.

    Does IBM have the money? Only by issuing more debt (IBM has about $22 Billion in debt already) OR by purchasing Apple using IBM stock which would dilute shareholder value.

    Does IBM have the will and/or stupidity to pursue such a deal? NO.

    • Re:ridiculous (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:23PM (#11009143) Journal
      Companies are looking for a platform that runs MS Office, and has lower virus risk / support costs than Windows. This means OS X. They are not buying Apple, because Apple does not have the brand recognition in corporate circles. IBM does. An IBM workstation running OS X would have a potentially huge market.

      It is also far more likely that this a join venture rather than an take over would happen. Apple licenses the OS to IBM, IBM creates business-oriented Mac-compatibles complementing Apple's home-oriented lines. IBM and Apple get to point at each other as a second source (the main advantage x86 PC vendors have over Apple or IBM trying to sell POWER/PowerPC kit).

    • Re:ridiculous (Score:3, Informative)

      by javaxman (705658)
      I have to agree, it's a pretty silly idea. I expect more, possibly closer IBM/Apple partnerships, but don't really see the business case for a merger.

      Still, I think IBM could pull it off ( IFF Steve Jobs wanted them to ), technically. IBM's [yahoo.com] market cap is something like 6 times Apple's [yahoo.com]. What such a move would do to IBM's stock price is an interesting question.

      Still, until Steve Jobs starts knocking on doors looking to sell Apple, it's just silly to talk about stuff like this- it's just not going to happen u

      • Still, until Steve Jobs starts knocking on doors looking to sell Apple, it's just silly to talk about stuff like this- it's just not going to happen unless it's Steve's idea... rrright. That's what he's been building the company up for, a sale! Ha!

        Considering Steve has his iTunes and iPod business going great guns, perhaps the Mac business isn't as important to Apple as it once was.

        Maybe Steve is looking to sell his PC division, too!
  • the new chic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zoloto (586738) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:30PM (#11008639)
    Hitching up with Apple would provide IBM with a real inroad into the fast growing 'lifestyle' market, something the men and women in blue suits kind of missed. Perhaps most of all, it would be a way for IBM to get even with Microsoft for all that bad blood over the early versions of Windows, which IBM partnered in, and apparently accidentally part-funded. Remember that what IBM got out of that for its money was an operating systems that chairman Gerstner famously named Warp, which turned out to be the speed at which it hurtled into oblivion.


    I can see teh future of IMB/APPLE laptops being the new chic. High class execs and those that want the style and performance of IBM/APPLE will buy these. Hot damn, I can picture this being the downfall of Microsoft. Now I'm not one to point a finger at anything *nix or not and proclaim the death of MS, but with this I can see it actually happening within the better half of a decade.

    I'd buy it.
  • by nsayer (86181) <nsayer&kfu,com> on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:38PM (#11008706) Homepage
    Q. What to you get when you combine Apple and IBM?

    A. IBM.

    Shamelessly stolen from Apple Confidential [nostarch.com].
  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:38PM (#11008707) Homepage
    so why on earth would they want to get involved with Apple?
    Its all about return on capital and as the Ipod thing fades (at least from a margin standpoint) Apple once again reverts to a niche player without great prospects for increased return on assets or equity.

    This is not to say that Apple wont make money or continue to evolve, it just doesn't make sense financially for IBM to be involved.
  • New logo (Score:3, Funny)

    by nizo (81281) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:46PM (#11008799) Homepage Journal
    Probably be the Apple logo with horizontal lines through it, kinda like a sliced up apple. Wait that doesn't sound good.

    Or is this just Apple's way of taking over everything that start with the letter I? Ipod, Imac, IBM.....

    • You're close: it'd be the Apple logo with Aqua stripes in it, which are close enough to the IBM stripes. Alternatively, a snowball surrounded by the fiery depths of hell is being considered.
  • Another Load... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fearboy (309735) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:47PM (#11008805) Homepage
    You'd think that by now, more people would've figured out a basic trait of Steve Jobs: he's got his own will, and he'll hit eject before he compromises it. A lot of people think that means he has a huge ego, and maybe he does, but that's not the point - he's spent an awfully long time trying to make the world see things his way, and he's not going to stop just because someone offers him a pile of cash.

    A lot of industry writers don't seem interested in understanding Apple's motivation (which of course means trying to understand Steve), so they ascribe standard corporate motives, and we end up with wild-ass rumors like this. But of course that doesn't work, and they're wrong a lot (they're right sometimes too, but how many crazy rumors have you heard?), and so the industry looks at Apple like they're the crazy unpredictable man-child of computing. Who happened to get lucky once or twice with the iMac and maybe the iPod. Won't happen again.

    But the thing is, they don't want to be on par with other manufacturers, and they don't want to beat them at their own game. Apple wants to change the rules and beat the others at Apple's game. That's the approach they've taken for a long time - iPod being probably the best example. It's also why Apple won't release a sub-$1000 machine, even though it might mean huge market share.

    So in short, the article's another load of poorly thought-out crap. The idea that IBM could/would buy Apple is like saying that when you hit the lottery, your boss will be cleaning your house - the transaction has to go both ways, and as willing as IBM may be (and I'm betting they're not), Apple won't bite.
  • I don't see it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:49PM (#11008825) Homepage
    This is just speculation to get attention, as near as I can gather. "IBM and Apple should merge!" sounds neat if you don't look at any of the context, but if you look at the actual products they sell it doesn't make really much sense at all. IBM targets almost exclusively corporate customers. Apple targets almost exclusively consumer customers. There's no good way to tie these two things together at all, especially since the existing product lines of each have no particular relevance or connectivity to one another. Okay, yeah, like the article mentions, IBM doesn't have a presence in the "lifestyle"/enduser demographic. Why is this a problem? That's just not their market.

    About the only obvious place the products could tie together is if IBM wanted to sell macs as corporate desktops. But as far as I'm aware when IBM sets up corporate desktops, it's just to sell their server infrastructure and such-- that is, IBM's push isn't "we'll sell you all this infrastructure stuff and give you better corporate desktop machines as well!" it's "we'll sell you this infrastructure stuff and it will work with the corporate desktop machines you were going to sell anyway!" In fact as far as I'm aware despite IBM's great use of Linux in the server space they have yet to use anything but Windows on the desktops their solutions people set up-- they're transitioning [nwfusion.com] to Linux desktops internally, but haven't shown signs that they want to try to change the general corporate-desktop status quo. Given all this, it would seem from IBM's perspective suddenly springing "and you should switch to macs for your desktops!" on their customers would make things a lot harder to sell. So I don't think that Apple's systems have much relevance to IBM. Conversely, I don't see IBM selling DB2 en masse to the end-user consumer market.

    Meanwhile the article's support for itself is full of nonsense, for example:

    Then of course there is Darwin, Apple's version of BSD Unix at the heart of its Mac OS X operating system, which would nicely provide IBM with a non Linux semi-open source alternative, and one that is focused on its on benchmark beating P (sorry G) 5 microprocessor

    Why on earth would IBM want a non Linux semi-open source alternative? First off IBM has been making lots of money out of actually just selling Linux; second off if they needed an alternative to Linux they sell several "real" UNIX derivatives themselves; third off Darwin is very highly specialized for the needs and APIs of OS X, and many of the design decisions therein don't make really a lot of sense except in OS X's context. If IBM wanted to repackage BSD they'd have done it themselves by now.

    I could maybe see it making sense if IBM tried to integrate their products better with Apple's-- I.E. trying to twist things so that XServes can be dropped into a IBM infrastructure package, or trying to sell packages of G5s as modeling boxes and IBM hardware as a render farm to places doing industrial graphics work. That would be neat, and definitely wouldn't hurt the situation for either company. However I don't see there being some kind of "missing puzzle piece" either Apple or IBM could fill in by working with the other the way the article seems to imply, and the article doesn't give me good reason to think there is one.
    • Re:I don't see it. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:36PM (#11009240) Journal
      Why on earth would IBM want a non Linux semi-open source alternative?

      MS Office. The main reason you aren't seeing IBM-made POWER/PowerPC workstations in offices is that they don't run MS Office. If they did, then they would be a lot more popular. There is no version of MS Office for Linux or AIX (I'm not counting Crossover, since it's not supported by MS - something important to corporate customers). There is for OS X.

  • by nokiator (781573) on Monday December 06, 2004 @12:49PM (#11008826) Journal
    Even though IBM's market cap is in excess of $160B, Apple's current valuation of $25B is a bit too much for a straight merger. A close partnership which involves IBM reselling some Apple products under IBM brand name is more likely.

    IBM has wanted to get rid of Microsoft for the last 20 years or so without much success. Microsoft takes a big chunk of the profit in the low margin corporate PC business which does not leave much money on the table for HW vendors. IBM is a company that built its brand recognition on (at least perceived) quality, reliability and security of its products. Being forced to rely on a Microsoft OS as the most user visible part of a corporate IT solution is a disaster. The latest round of security problems with Windows XP and IE over the last year may have pushed IBM over the edge.

    For the server side of the corporate IT market, IBM can rely on Linux or internal IBM OS variants. For desktops and notebooks there is really no option to Microsoft since the death of OS2.

    If IBM chooses to offer Apple desktops and notebooks as part of their corporate solution portfolio, this will immediately make Apple products more acceptable from the perspective of CIOs. OSX user interface is easy to learn and use and OSX already supports the Microsoft Office suite, which is pretty much the only desktop (un)productivity suite used by most corporate customers.

  • A better idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blamanj (253811) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:01PM (#11008939)
    Rather than a merger of companies, a merger of interests. Darwin/AIX.

    IBM currently has in AIX an operating system that they've invested a lot of development time in, but aren't getting much traction with. Partly because of that they've been focussing more on Linux.

    Apple has a relatively recent server line, and an operating system based on an open license, Darwin. If IBM put it's AIX and Linux technology in to Darwin, they'd have a OS with a much wider user base, and Apple would get a server OS with a much stronger reputation behind it.

    IBM sells more chips, Apple sells more servers, and both get an upgraded OS (IBM would probably not use OS X/Aqua, just Darwin) with a lot of tried and true capabilities. Win/win.
  • by Steve Cowan (525271) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:02PM (#11008942) Journal
    Merger or not, imagine IBM Power5/Power6/whatever servers running OS X. Wow -- IBM pumping R&D money into OS X.

    Or high-end Macs being sold through IBM, just like iPods are now being sold through HP.

    This doesn't seem like such an absurd reality to me.
  • Another alternative (Score:4, Interesting)

    by uthanda (325531) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:03PM (#11008951) Homepage
    Since we're all in the wild speculation mode, what about this as another possiblity: IBM licensing Mac OS X and working with Apple to produce business-class OS X systems with IBM branding. (sort of like what HP did with the iPod)

    As has been stated here often enough, Apple does not really have what businesses need in a machine: inexpensive (relatively) headless machines that can be dropped into an office cubicle. And there's a good reason for that. An Apple workstation for $800 or so would cut into their Power Mac /iMac sales.

    However, if IBM were to release one only available to businesses it might satisfy this need while allowing Apple to protect their core business. IBM could then add their own software or add-ons to integrate with their server line. Maybe even ship the systems with Office pre-installed for businesses.

    Whether corporate America would buy into it or not is another story, but it makes for an interesting thought.
  • by CFD339 (795926) <andrewp AT thenorth DOT com> on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:04PM (#11008964) Homepage Journal
    The cultural hell that was the merger of IBM and Lotus would be nothing compared to this.

    Also, Apple is the ultimate end-user oriented company. They sell, talk, and work directly to the end user desktop. IBM has proven over and over that they've great at mass manufacturing new technologies at great expense and even more great at inventing new ones. The stink, however, at direct customer interface. The smaller the point of contact the worse they are.

    IBM did great with Fujitsu and Dell -- selling components for PC's (in Dell's case, tons and tons of Travelstar and Deskstar drive) but try to go buy one directly from IBM yourself. Its very hard. They just don't know how to do deal with people.

    This isn't the kind of company that could absorb those skills from Apple either. Apple would dissapear with the great IBM universe and never be the same.

    no, Apple works best as a swift and lithe innovator. Let IBM make the guts, let the Apple folks package it and sell it.

    -- ME
  • by CrazyWingman (683127) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:47PM (#11009310) Journal

    How has no one yet brought up the old adage:

    IBM was created by guys who drank beer.

    Apple was created by guys who smoked pot.

    Careful when mixing substances!!! ;)

    • IBM was created by guys who drank beer.
      Apple was created by guys who smoked pot.

      I think you may be slightly off...

      IBM was created by guys who drank martinis.

      Apple was created by guys who dropped acid.

      /whoa, look at all the pretty colors...

  • by Frogbeater (216054) on Monday December 06, 2004 @01:50PM (#11009338) Homepage
    ...is merger.

    Did Apple and HP merge? No.

    HP is selling iPods. Not a merger, a stretegic partnership.

    IBM and Apple could never exist under the same management but they could sell the same products to different people (i.e. HP iPod.) Apple isn't letting anyone build competing hardware but it is letting them sell the same hardware to groups of people that it can't reach alone, in the case of HP that would be windows users, in the case of IBM it would be businesses.

    Apple has clearly shown how to impliment open source in their business practice (please feel free to bash on this point, but they are a profitable company integrating open source concepts into their business strategy with success) which IBM is surely interested in, and it isn't windows.

    Did anyone read the article on CELL processors? [slashdot.org]

    Hello, they're based on 970s.
  • by NullProg (70833) on Monday December 06, 2004 @02:18PM (#11009574) Homepage Journal
    Look up Taligent and Pink, circa 1993. IBM/APPLE has been working together now for over a decade.

    Enjoy,
  • by unsinged int (561600) on Monday December 06, 2004 @02:19PM (#11009579)
    That would be amusing to say the least.
  • by Johnny Mozzarella (655181) on Monday December 06, 2004 @02:54PM (#11009936)
    Basically IBM would change the plastics to black and focus on selling to corporations.

    I will be first in line for a iBM 17" PowerBook(black anodized aluminum).
  • by asimetrix (621424) on Monday December 06, 2004 @03:07PM (#11010083) Homepage
    If Apple, IBM, and Sony would all team up, we might actually see a drop in windows market share-but thats only if they can converge nicely into a streamlined unit providing desktops, servers, services, and game systems unbeatable in the wintel world.
  • by neomage86 (690331) on Monday December 06, 2004 @03:15PM (#11010155)
    This theory seems to bring together several loose threads floating around. First, were the rumors last week that IBM was selling it's PC division to some firm in Asia. Next, was the fact that these new cell Processors will be amazing, but Windows doesn't like anything but x86. IMHO, it seems that IBM is planning on selling their wintel PC division, and own the PC market later with cell processors run a new improved Mac OS. Think about it, the only reason Macs never caught on were because people didn't use them at work (didn't want to learn something new for home), and they were too expensive (Apple couldn't take advantage of Economies of Scale the same way Dell can). IBM will make Macs rollout well in large enterprises. People will be able to buy them for their home. And they will be orders of magnitude faster than their Wintel counterparts which are stuck on x86. I don't want to say it, but the combination of a new hardware platform(Power Cells), and a viable alternative in the corporate and home enviroment [IBM/Mac], and the server market [IBM/Linux] may spell the end of the Windows monoculture. Or I may just be getting my hopes up. I'm allowed to dream, aren't I?
  • by SimHacker (180785) on Monday December 06, 2004 @04:03PM (#11010638) Homepage Journal
    A: IBM.

    That joke was more ironic in the 90's, when I was working at Kaleida (a joint venture of IBM and Apple).

    -Don

  • by tyrione (134248) on Monday December 06, 2004 @04:08PM (#11010690) Homepage

    Any one who believes this clearly never worked in a Steve Jobs company.

    Nor do they know their history. Back when NeXTSTEP was natively ported to IBM systems it outperformed AIX. That was not cool to the suits so they promptly forced it to run at the interpreter level and buried the joint venture.

    Steve never forgets. And to the dickwad that claims his ego is enormous I say, "Feelin' inadequate still?"

  • by redwoodtree (136298) * on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:04PM (#11011320)
    Sorry folks, this would be an unmitigated disaster. If you've spent any time with employees of IBM and Apple (in a professional setting) you will know that the cultures are wildly different.

    IBM is still all about sales, employing thousands of technical salespeople, they have a whole fleet of techies in each theatre of operation devoted to on-site support, technical "deep dives" and so on. Apple is trying to do the consumer thing, their consumer touch points are the Apple stores and their entire marketing campaign is aimed at young, hip, urban folk.

    The marriage of these companies would undoubtedly alienate one or both sets of employees. Jobs could not be on top (running pixar, apple AND IBM??) and Apple could not operate how it does, with micromangers roaming the halls making last minute design changes and changing the direction of projects on the drop of a hat.

    Anyway, this seems like wild speculation to me and if it's true, more power to them. But I see very bad things for a marriage of this type.
  • by tekunokurato (531385) <jackphelps@gmail.com> on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:08PM (#11011354) Homepage
    Okay, look, I *really* don't mean to troll here. This would NEVER happen. EVER. AAPL right now has a P/E of 95--it's the stock's highest valuation since the bubble, and it's above the consensus price targets according my little friend Bloomberg over here. This means that IBM would have an extremely difficult time getting a decent return out of such an acquisition, and you can trust me (if you can trust an M&A banker at all -_^)--IBM doesn't like to pay huge multiples.

    IBM could gear up and go all consumer on our asses if it wanted, but it's not going to because the company is committed towards moving away from things it is historically weak in. It could gear its PC unit up-scale and sell value-added, noncommoditized PCs if it wanted, but it doesn't because they're not particularly useful to enterprises.

    It would NOT be possible for IBM to suddenly leverage Macs from 5% to 80% market share, and if it tried such a pitch to a valuable customer, well, HP would be up one valuable customer and IBM down one Sales Manager and one Palmisano.
  • missing piece (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ryanw (131814) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:45AM (#11015654)
    I see a lot of people talking about possible reasons for this news to be true. IBM wanting to get rid of Microsoft, IBM being so corporate focused, etc. I also see reasons why there is "a snowball's chance in hell" that IBM would want MacOSX. Such as IBM could just repackge BSD or use their own AIX. BUT, there is something that nobody has mentioned yet.

    I'm sure IBM HATES putting "Intel Inside" stickers on their laptops and machines they use for desktops. Throwing a PowerMac under a desk at a client's operation is a DOUBLE win for IBM. Eats into Microsoft and it doesn't say "Intel" on it anywhere.

    IBM and Apple have one major thing in comon. They both sell HIGH quality solutions which come with a pricetag. Sure, Apple has some sub $1000 solutions, but there are venders out there selling sub $300 systems which totally lack quality. Sellings systems with such a pricetag requires consumer confidence and a "NAME". Receiving a product purchased from IBM having a sticker on it that says "Intel Inside" is a HUGE blow to IBM.

    I don't know about you, but I was shocked to see the POWERMAC G5 when it was released. My VERY FIRST thought of the Powermac G5 was "This looks like as if Apple had designed a system for IBM." I don't know exactly why I had that thought, maybe it was all the hype around the IBM PPC 970. But if you look at a powermac, it looks like the combination of eligance but the look of power. In otherwords, Apple + IBM.

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