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Apple considered small chip startup over Intel?

Evan Blass
05.22.06
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Steve Jobs' announcement -- almost a year ago, now -- that Apple was transitioning to x86 processors was one of the most shocking bits of news that the industry had ever heard, and yet there were a group of employees at a startup chip manufacturer called PA Semi who were even more shocked than most, according to reports, because right up until that keynote, they were sure that their company, and not Intel, would be chosen to supply the brains for what's now known as the MacBook family of laptops. The Register is reporting that PA Semi had a close relationship with Apple in the months prior to the switch, and that the two companies were working together to gauge the feasibility of running native PowerPC-coded software on 2GHz dual-core chips that PA Semi claims run at only a third of the 21 to 25 watts consumed by Intel's Core Duo models. Sources who spoke to El Reg say that executives were virtually positive that they'd win the contract, and that CEO Dan Dobberpuhl was understandably "furious" when he found out PA Semi had been passed over. The company still has a bright future developing chips for the embedded market and storage devices, but they'll probably never again have the opportunity to become an instantly-recognized name like Intel, AMD, or IBM.

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