Time May Have Passed The Powerpc By

Delays and infighting have cost the partnership dearly

Apple Computer Inc. employees worried about their jobs weren't the only ones who sighed with relief when, shortly after Gilbert F. Amelio took over as CEO, merger talks with Sun Microsystems Inc. collapsed. Apple's decision to go it alone was also welcome news for Motorola Inc. and IBM, its partners in the design and production of the PowerPC microprocessor. If Apple, which last year shipped 4 million Macs using the PowerPC, switched to Sun's SPARC chip, the venture known as Somerset would be sunk. "Apple is critical," says Didier Breton, a vice-president at Groupe Bull, which is building PowerPC-based systems. "If they move out, we have to consider the situation anew."

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