First there were endless rumors that Apple was switching to Intel. Once the bomb dropped, there was speculation the switch was due to IBM's inability to cram a G5 into a 1" PowerBook. Now, a CNET interview with Michel Mayer, CEO of Freescale (the Motorola spinoff who owns the PowerPC architecture), puts all the speculation to rest with a couple of simple sentences: "[The G5] worked pretty well. And then IBM decided not to take the G5 into the laptop and decided to really focus its chip business on the game consoles." There we have it. The PowerPC was eliminated from Apple's playbook not with a bang or a whimper, but with a simple decision. Oddly enough, Mayer also elaborates in the interview that Jobs wanted to make the switch about five years ago, but the G5 is what sold him into sticking with the PowerPC. Oh the tales these companies weave.
On an unrelated the note, the interview is a pretty interesting look at some of the other places the PowerPC is and will be used, including more consumer electronics, gaming systems (Xbox 360 anyone?) and even air bag deployment in the cars we drive. Kinda funny to think that similar processors both save your life and allow you to not have to run Windows, hey?