Apple, IBM and Motorola Publish Specifications for the "PowerPCx Platform"
New, open, unified personal computer architecture is based on powerful PowerPC RISC microprocessor
LAS VEGAS - November 13, 1995 - Today, Apple, IBM and Motorola announced the availability of the "PowerPC Platform" - a set of specifications that defines a unified personal computer architecture and brings the combined advantages of the Power Macintoshx platform and the standard PC environment to both system vendors and users. These open specifications will make it easier for system vendors to design computers capable of running multiple operating systems. Operating systems from Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Novell and SunSoft are planned to support the PowerPC Platform.
These specifications are known formally as the PowerPCx Microprocessor Common Hardware Reference Platform. Prior to today, they had been referred to within the industry as CHRP (Common Hardware Reference Platform). The PowerPC Platform, combined with the superior performance of the PowerPC RISC microprocessor, will support today's advanced applications and drive the next generation of applications which address emerging customer requirements for video, multimedia, virtual reality, speech recognition, 3D graphics and enhanced communications. PowerPC Platform-compliant systems will also benefit from the availability of components designed to industry specifications which can help reduce costs.
The PowerPC Platform specifications - a blueprint for system vendors and independent hardware vendors - specify the kinds of input/output interfaces, bus standards and other system-level functional elements needed to implement a single, unified architecture around the PowerPC microprocessor. The PowerPC alliance companies of Apple, IBM and Motorola are publishing the PowerPC Platform specifications as part of their initiative to create a superior, industry-wide RISC-based alternative to the CISC-based X86 offerings. The PowerPC Platform provides a standard architecture for the next generation of personal computing - an architecture that is open, multi-OS capable, scalable from portables to high-performance servers, and free from the limitations of CISC-based microprocessor architectures, which have had to incorporate RISC-like features to avoid reaching their performance peak.
The PowerPC Platform, an open, publicly available reference architecture for the industry, leverages industry standard component designs. System vendors choosing to implement the PowerPC Platform will benefit not only from the specifications, but also from the reference designs and infrastructure, including chipsets, peripherals and firmware from leading vendors. Thus, the PowerPC Platform provides a lower-cost, standard PC foundation for a broad range of computing systems from multiple system vendors which can help to increase PC volumes, and enables system vendors to differentiate their PowerPC systems. Additionally, users will benefit from broader access to software applications. Benefits of the PowerPC Platform include:
The PowerPC Platform specifications deliver on the commitment made by Apple, IBM and Motorola in November 1994 to create a common system-level architecture definition. They provide unified specifications that are flexible, scalable and backward-compatible for manufacturers who build to them. Existing application software that supports either the earlier PowerPC Reference Platform or the Power Macintosh system standard does not need to be rewritten for the PowerPC Platform.
Joining today's announcements are not only leading system vendors, but also vendors of chipsets, peripherals and components such as 3Com, CMD Technology, Motorola FSRAMS, National Semiconductor, Standard Microsystems Corp., Texas Instruments, United Microelectronics Corp./ITE, VLSI Technology and Winbond Systems Laboratory. The system vendors who have indicated support for the PowerPC Platform include Apple, Canon, DayStar Digital, FirePower Systems, IBM, IPC Technologies, Motorola Computer Group, Pioneer, Power Computing, Radius, the TNPC (Taiwan New PC Consortium), Umax and Zenith Data Systems. Many of these companies will be making product announcements or statements of support for the PowerPC Platform at COMDEX/Fall 1995.
Detailed information about systems designs and support for individual operating systems will be provided by the manufacturer at the time of the product announcement. "The announcement of the PowerPC Platform represents another important milestone on the road to establishing the PowerPC as an industry standard with broad-based industry support," said Joe Guglielmi, corporate vice president and general manager, the Motorola Computer Group. "For the first time in the industry, a RISC hardware platform will run every leading, advanced 32-bit operating system, providing a significant opportunity to system vendors to take advantage of increased volumes and for users to take advantage of a broad set of applications."
"For customers as well as hardware and software developers, the PowerPC Platform promises to unlock the current stranglehold on the computer industry and unleash the next generation of personal computing," commented David Nagel, Apple senior vice president of worldwide research and development. "With this computing platform, we're offering an open design to the whole industry, which will spur innovation as well as new opportunities to participate."
"What is most important about this announcement is what it makes possible," said Nick Donofrio, IBM senior vice president and group executive, Server Group. "The PowerPC Platform gives our industry a unified system-level architecture that harnesses the performance of PowerPC - creating a win/win for everyone, especially the user." PowerPC alliance members and their partners are planning to deliver systems based on the PowerPC Platform specifications in the second half of 1996. More information on the PowerPC and the PowerPC Platform specifications can be obtained by accessing the web sites of alliance members or by calling:
Company URL Phone Motorola http://www.mot.com/PowerPC/ (800) 845-MOTO, (512) 434-1502 Apple http://chrp.apple.com (800) 251-8662 IBM http://www.chips.ibm.com (800) PowerPC, (708) 296-6767
PowerPC, PowerPC 601, PowerPC 603, and PowerPC 604 are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation and are used under license by Motorola and Apple.
Industry Support for the PowerPC PlatformThe following leading chipset, peripheral, system and operating system vendors are supporting the PowerPC Platform specifications:
Apple Computer, Inc."We are extremely pleased to bring the MacOSx to the PowerPC Platform. We are committed to the PowerPC Platform, which we consider to be the cornestone of our licensing strategy and the foundation for new innovative computing solutions. We expect the combination of MacOSx and the PowerPC Platform to diversify customer and developer options, grow the overall Macintosh platform share, and lower the cost on computing while also improving performance."
Vice President, OS & Technology Licensing
Apple Computer, Inc.
FirePower Systems"The PowerPC Platform specifications enable a rapid proliferation of PowerPC microprocessor-based systems by providing a standardized platform that will support all popular OS environments. Further, it allows system manufacturers like FirePower to move beyond the PC/AT architecture and develop modern system architectures without fear of leaving users behind."
Vice President of Hardware Engineering
FirePower Systems, Inc.
IBM Corporation - AIX"As the suppliers of the AIX operating system, we view the specification of a standard PowerPC Platform as a significant milestone in broadening industry acceptance and promoting widespread availability of PowerPC microprocessor-based systems. These systems offer an attractive market for AIX. AIX is on track to be widely available on systems based on the PowerPC Platform specification in 1997."
Donna Van Fleet
AIX Systems Development
RISC Systems/6000 Division
IBM Corporation - OS/2"We're excited about the upcoming PowerPC Platform machines. This new generation of computers will broaden OS/2 Warp's market potential and allow a wide range of customers to utilize the award-winning, 32-bit OS/2 platform."
Personal Software Products Division
IPC Technologies"We are very excited about the potential opportunities surrounding the PowerPC Platform. Our success in providing high-end multimedia solutions will only increase now that we can provide the same advanced solutions as the Macintosh."
Director of Advanced Systems
Microsoft Corporation"With the new PowerPC Platform specifications, many more customers will have access to the Windows NT operating system on a greater variety of hardware systems. It ultimately allows customers more choice and even greater price/performance possibilities for Windows NT-based hardware systems."
Windows NT and BackOffice Division
RISC Microprocessor Division
Director of Marketing
RISC Microprocessor Division
Application Specific Memories Operation
Operations Manager, Application Specific Memories Operation
Microprocessor and Memory Technologies Group
National Semiconductor"The PowerPC represents a breakthrough in CPU cost/performance and size. We believe its capabilities position it well for a range of consumer and corporate users.
Our key contribution to the PowerPC family of microprocessors is supplying new, advanced Super I/O technology. We are also providing low power LCX logic and interface components, which enable power efficient PowerPC platforms. We have integrated a Fast InfraRed serial interface controller with our Super I/O technology and thus enabled file transfer and synchronization without wires at a speed of 4 megabits per second.
This is the first time that wireless connectivity has been incorporated into the PowerPC architecture. It gives personal computer designers and end users many cableless choices for exchanging files and sending data to peripherals, connecting to network nodes and moving data to and from calculators, electronic organizers and other equipment. All other Super I/O benefits and features are also included with our new technology. The Super I/O provides connectivity between the CPU and peripherals, such as the printer, modem, floppy and hard disk drives, keyboard and mouse. National invented Super I/O technology and coined the name. We are the market leader with greater than 40 percent market share."
Personal Systems Segment Business Unit
Novell"Novell has a close relationship with the PowerPC partners, and we believe the PowerPC Platform will create a new standard for systems based on this common hardware specification. Through our alliances with IBM, Motorola, and Apple, Novell plans to provide a full NetWare offering on this powerful new breed of standard servers."
Executive Vice President
SunSoft, Inc."SunSoft's endorsement of the PowerPC Platform specifications is consistent with our support and promotion of open standards. We look forward to offering Solaris, the most scalable and secure 32-bit network operating system, on PowerPC Platform systems from hardware partners such as Apple, IBM and Motorola."
Vice President and General Manager
Solaris Products Group
Taiwan NewPC Consortium (TNPC)"The PowerPC Platform will provide more software choice to the customer, significantly reducing time-to-market and cost to the solution provider."
"UMAX has committed to the PReP and Mac clone businesses, and we will definitely join the party developing PowerPC Platform systems again to create the momentum together with Apple, IBM and Motorola.
Chairman and CEO
"I believe that the PowerPC era will arrive soon due to the collaboration efforts of Apple, IBM and Motorola through the unified PowerPC Platform technology. In addition, with the well-prepared PowerPC manufacturing infrastructure by the member companies of the Taiwan NewPC Consortium and other PReP participants, the PowerPC business development process will further be expedited."
Steven S. Cheng
Vice President and General Director
Texas Instruments, Inc."Texas Instruments supplies a broad range of semiconductor technologies to the rapidly growing and changing personal computer market. We are pleased that Apple has selected us to help them grow the success of the PowerPC Platform."
WorldWide Strategic Marketing
Texas Instruments, Inc.
United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC)"UMC is committed to bringing the best price/performance solution to the industry for the core logic chipset market. We believe the UM8810 provides OEMs and developers with a highly optimized solution at a competitive price/performance point. UMC will also continuously invest resources to provide customers with the best cost performance chipsets for the PowerPC architecture and the PowerPC Platform specifications."
Director of Marketing
Core Logic Chipset Division
Winbond Systems Laboratory (WSL)"Winbond excels at providing low-cost, value-added system solutions to the manufacturers of personal computers. With the development of the SL82C565 Enhanced SIO chip, several segments of the PC industry will benefit from the high-volume availability of a single device which can support both x86 as well as PowerPC systems. WSL has worked with Apple, IBM and Motorola to ensure the device's compatibility with the recently released PowerPC Platform specifications."
Director of Marketing
Winbond Systems Laboratory
Zenith Data Systems"The PowerPC Platform specifications provide the users of conformng PowerPC platforms with the freedom of choice and investment protection that they have become accustomed to in the commodity PC world. It enables multiple operating systems and applications across different vendor platforms while maintaining software compatibility. Zenith Data Systems continues to participate in this rapidly growing market."
J. Martin Strakhovsky
PowerPC Product Management
Zenith Data Systems
NOTE TO EDITORS: If you are interested in receiving Apple press releases by fax, call 1-800-AAPL-FAX (1-800-227-5329) and enter your PIN number. If you do not have a PIN, please call the Public Relations Hotline at 408-974-2042.