Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine

Some pretty weird doings up in Silicon Valley this week.

First, Sun buys StorageTek for $4B … yes, Billion. Sun, who once dominated the workstation space – crushing Apollo and DEC in the process – went and bought a tape storage company. In 2005. For four billion dollars. Say what!? For that kind of money they could have bought half a dozen very profitable software companies and had a multitude of options in terms of strategies. Instead they are going down the path that DEC went down twenty years prior. Clinging to institutional and Big Business support contracts. Didn’t work then. Won’t work now. What a waste.

That news probably didn’t wake many people up, though. But the news that Apple was going to switch to Intel microprocessors was right out of science fiction. The Apple/Motorola vs. Microsoft/Intel war is finally, more or less, over. Why didn’t they do this sooner is the only question. Switching to a lower cost and more “standard” hardware base would remove one of the biggest barriers to buying a Mac: price. Price of the machine, price of the peripherals, price of upgrading software. There must be all kinds of gnashing of teeth in Cupertino amongst the Macintosh Fathful, though. The war is over and they lost.