[svlug] It is all starting to make sense
javilk at polly.mall-net.com
Tue Nov 10 04:37:26 PST 1998
All the hoopla over DOJ and Merced. And what really matters in the
end -- your hard drive.
> case Microsoft turns off the spigot after the testimony in court. Intel is
> sowing seeds for hardware sales in case Microsoft gets pissed off. In
> reality, Microsoft can not do that qickly because the Intel platform is
> their only real exposure to their customer.
Intel has three problems:
1. Competitors are gaining on the Pentium, eroding profit margins.
2. Merced needs a popular operating system.
Current Solution: MS Windows NT
3. Merced needs applications software
Current solution: none. ZIP!
Intel's greatest fear:
DOJ causes MS to focus away from porting Win-- and APPLICATIONS over
to Merced. Not stops, merely ties up management and delays rollout.
With the delays, MANUFACTURERS perceive that no one wants Merced
because there is nothing to run on it. They don't ADVERTISE new Merced
machines. Meanwhile competitors continue to squeeze Intel's Pentium based
For MS, Merced is a great opportunity to force people to buy
everything all over again! It is a Bonanza!
MS could play games with the iMac, because it represented an unknown
and never to be major market. Chances are, they would merely have delayed
investing in that platform, waiting to see whether it took off or crashed.
Merced is the FUTURE. MS has to support it.
> The Halloween document is a play to show that the linux "threat" is
> bigger than it really is. Did you hear FreeBSD or BSDI mentioned to the
> extent of Linux? They are mentioned in the context of a "forked tree" but
> combined, the BSD ports are ignored.
Sounds right. MS has to show DOJ that it has competition.
> Now rise up to 50,000 ft and have a look. Intel knows that they are going
> to let the cat out of the bag in sworn testimony. Microsoft might get
> pissed off. Intel invests in Red Hat as a hedge. The combination with
> Netscape is a great score because it is mutually beneficial and tends to
> camoflage Intel's initial intent ... which is clear now after today's
> testimony. Microsoft is too close to the trees to realize that they can
[author corrected: can't]
> AFFORD to get pissed off because the only other platform that runs Windows
> ... Alpha ... is controlled by Intel since Intel controls the fab.
MS can and will try to port to any platform they reasonably expect a
decent market for. NT has long ago been ported to SGI, SUN, PowerPC, etc.
And no one in their right mind uses it unless forced to by management,
because other, better, operating systems were already there.
You may recall, SGI was pushing Indy's and O2's as major web servers.
> The truth is, Microsoft could refuse to support MMX and Merced but in
> fact, they would cut their own throat if Linux, Solaris, and HP-UX did!
MS could do serious damage to Intel by delaying support. Intel would
then set up a good emulator, but the damage to Intel would be in the
perception that it is not "real". Intel's damage to MS, on the other hand,
would be horrendous, as no one would buy new software! If Intel does it
right, they just run the old stuff in emulation mode. (Common in the
> In my mind, Intel has outplayed Microsoft in this chess match and
> Microsoft is too full of itself and its current prosperity to see the
> clouds looming on the horizon. Microsoft HAS to play nice ... what if
> Intel decides to no longer support Windows?!? Where does Microsoft go?
> Alpha? Intel can then decide to slow/cut production.
Intel is driven by investors, (as is MS,) and the major investments in
design and fabrication required for Merced. Intel does not "have" to
support anything, it needs others support or Merced is dead as a door
nail! MS has to develop the software for whatever platform takes off. If
they work together, the software gets done a lot faster. IF they don't
maximize cooperation and availability of hardware and software to each
other, they Both lose tons of money, as investments remain non-productive.
Given the bonanza MS sees, and the billions Intel has spent on design and
fabrication equipment, neither will want to delay the other. They both
want fast roll out, and fast profits.
BUT... Intel is at far greater risk, since MS is playing catch up
trying to get a good version of their OS ported.
> Microsoft is toast. Want to make some money? Sell Microsoft short ... now.
I doubt it. BUT... If Linux supports Merced before Win--, if Merced
starts rolling out before Win-- is ready, Linux wins big, and MS gets hit
hard! (Actually, it does not matter if Win/Merced is buggy as all heck,
since by the time Compaq et all ship hardware, the updates will be out.)
Want to really win? Linux-Merced running a Pentium instruction set
emulator to allow Windows 95 to run in a virtual machine. (Never mind
Wine, a genuine Pentium instruction set emulator.) Get a faster chip
without spending another couple thousand on software upgrades!!! And
guess what else you get -- plenty of Linux X windows stuff to boot! Both
operating systems running concurrently. That is a MAJOR-MAJOR threat to
Why is an instruction set emulator really needed?
1. Old software never dies, it just gets used in legacy applications
forever! (Else why the Y2k problem...) Old Dbase, Foxpro, Basic,
Fortran, C and C++ code, not to mention all that Cobol stuff. And folks
have built stuff on OS/2, DR/DOS and such as well. A lot of the third
party vendors are out of business thanks to MS's continued onslaught.
(One of my clients just this past year phased out his TRS-80's! Stuff
works! He bought spares at the flea markets.)
2. Software upgrade costs. You think MS office/Merced will be cheap?
Win/Merced cheap? I don't think so! Neither will all the third party
software be cheap.
3. Win/Merced and MS Office/Merced, and other ported software may
have, or may be perceived to have, compatibility problems.
Bottom line is that Pentium architecture will not blow over and die.
(Hey, IBM 360 stuff is still running out there!) Neither MS nor Intel are
really going to cut each other's throats, only posture a little bit. Not
unless BG is totally insane. BG will not play the same game with Intel
that he played with iMac, because Merced is the future, not a sideline. BG
is on Intel's treadmill, and he knows very well that Intel controls the
speed at this point, not him; at least to a large degree.
The people who really control the treadmill, are the systems
manufacturers. No Windows? Compaq, Sony, IBM, even Acer, etc. don't
invest as quickly in making and advertising Merced machines. Who would?
SGI! They port IRIX or get Linux and sell their machines as solution boxes
into their own market.
BG/MS is scrambling like crazy to port stuff to the Merced. But...
Windows software is crap, so it isn't that easily portable. I believe
that the push for NT as Win--, is because NT was designed to be portable,
and HAS been ported years ago.
All Intel wants, is to be a little surer that something out there
will give manufacturers a reason to WANT to RAPIDLY invest in building
Merced machines. If Linux is ready before Win--, Linux will be it, and MS
takes a major hit, because it will no longer be viewed as having The ONLY
OS for Merced.
And... the sight of Linux as a competitor both removes DOJ threats,
allowing MS to concentrate on Merced AND forces MS to really push harder
to get Win-- out on the Merced.
Which OS will be first? My bet is Linux. But, the first commercial
system may well be IRIX, _IF_ SGI really plays their cards right. Does
SGI matter? Not really, they are a specialty market just like the iMac.
In the end, they have to be compatible with whatever people want, and
people see Windows all over the place. SGI already has made a commitment
to provide NT on SOME, not all, of their machines.
As to what is really going on... the slowest part of your computer is
the voice coil that moves the disk drive head. Then the spindle motor.
Unless you have multiple drives, transfer rates are not reached. And once
the data or program is in memory, the memory is slower than the CPU.
Adding memory for larger disk buffers helps, but only where you are
re-using a lot of data.
Where does Merced really matter? Graphics, as in web authors and
advertising agencies, and the occasional movie; and to a lesser extent,
graphics compression for web presentation, but without some major new
compression or rendering in the web browsers, there is not much push
there. Then there is the much, much smaller scientific market. For average
folks, it is probably overkill till some new software comes out that needs
that power. The only thing likely to pull Merced machines, is something
to do with super compressed TV-like stuff over the web.
- javilk at mall-net.com -----------------------------
-------- MS asks "Where do you want to go?" -------
------- Linux asks "What do you want to do?" ------
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