Windows NT and PowerPC: RIP

I alluded to this in yesterday's story about Be Inc., but major PowerPC players such as IBM, Motorola, and Bull and dropping support for Windows NT on PowerPC machines. Apparently, the sales just aren't there. This situation has two ramifications, neither of them good. First, it means that the Intel x86 is still the only valid CPU line for Windows. Advances in microprocessor technology--such as RISC--usually turn up in the Intel line last, since backwards compatibility is such an issue. Secondly, it further marginalizes the PowerPC chip family, since it has, in effect, become nothing more than the successor to the 68x line, and its many benefits and features will reach only a small audience. Apple computer is the only PC manufacturer shipping any number of PowerPC-based computers (in all fairness, there are a few Mac clone makers as well, but that market is tiny compared to the PC clone market). If you're concerned with Microsoft's "monopoly", consider that Intel has a far stronger grasp on their particular section of the market (CPUs and motherboards) than Microsoft does on theirs (OS and application software). Obviously, Intel should be pretty excited about this, but users have always benefited from competition: witness the excellent gains made in Web browsers and other Internet software this year

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