Sun: Apple nearly moved to Sparc chips

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Apple Computer's processor preferences are in the limelight as the computer maker on Tuesday began selling models using Intel processors instead of the PowerPC chips from IBM and Freescale Semiconductor that have been the computers' preferred brains since the mid-1990s. But another processor choice came to light Wednesday when Sun Microsystems cofounder Bill Joy revealed that Sun's Sparc chips were in the running during the last Apple switch, when it was moving off Motorola's 680x0 family.

"We got very close to having Apple use Sparc. That almost happened," Joy said at a panel discussion featuring reminiscences by Sun's four cofounders at the Computer History Museum here.

Apple chose PowerPC, though, which along with one Apple acquisition attempt and two Sun-Apple merger attempts were a "personal disappointment" to Joy.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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