PowerPC is dead……………Yeah Right!

Apologies for (mis) using the slogan from the New Zealand Tui beer advert but I’ve seen a lot of posts in recent weeks about the final death of the PowerPC CPU for desktop computers.

Recently while travelling around the north of England I visited the National Media centre in Bradford. I picked up an interesting book on the history of the microcomputer revolution which covered all the models released from 1975-1998. Unfortunately, I’m old enough to remember most of them. However, I had forgotten the amazing variety and choice of desktop machines available for home users long before Microsoft and Intel came to dominate the scene. This was a frenetic period of technical advancement on both sides of the Atlantic and Japan. New machines were released, almost on a monthly basis, each with its own unique features and programming languages. It was an unprecedented period of choice and innovation which would shape the future IT industry. Models developed by a handful of enthusiasts were taken as seriously as machines from industry giants.

Of course this all changed with the introduction of the ubiquitous IBM PC and the subsequent PC clones, which introduced standardisation and compatibility and led to domination of the desktop market. Today, unless your requirement is for an IBM Power Server workstation (unlikely for a home user), your choice for a desktop PC system is limited to x86 variants, probably running a version of Microsoft Windows. Even Apple, who once “dared to be different” have joined the ranks of the grey masses, albeit with more stylish products. A recent survey reported that ~92% of the world’s desktop computers run a variation of Windows. Despite making some inroads MacOS still only holds a ~5% share, while Linux (in all its guises) can only claim~1.5% of market share despite being the fastest growing mainstream desktop OS.

Against this global backdrop of x86 domination I suddenly realised that companies like A-EON Technology and ACube are really quite special and unique. It really quite staggering that we are designing and manufacturing custom built PowerPC desktop hardware for the tiny “Amiga Next Generation” market. Matthew Leaman (AmigaKit) and I recently met up with Varisys, our hardware partners, to discuss developments in the PowerPC field. They confirmed that new and exciting PowerPC CPUs are under development, some of which would be ideally suited to desktop applications. To mark the occasion of our meeting we stopped off for a quick photo shoot. Which brings me nicely back to my original comment.

PowerPC is dead...........Yeah right!
Paul Gentle (Varisys), Trevor Dickinson, Matthew Leaman (AmigaKit), Adam Barnes (Varisys)

PowerPC is dead………….Yeah Right!