IBM signs licensing agreement with Apple aimed at opening Mac OS marketplace
Fishkill, New York -- May 6, 1996 -- IBM today announced it has reached agreement with Apple Computer to license the Mac OS operating system, a step both companies expect will significantly open and enhance growth of the Mac OS marketplace.
The agreement allows IBM to sell PowerPC microprocessors, along with a Mac OS sub-license, to any manufacturer. This licensing agreement means the Mac industry is now able to develop a wide variety of hardware solutions based on Macintosh and PowerPC Platform (or CHRP) systems. This parallels the PC industry, where different hardware components can be used by manufacturers to build systems.
"With this agreement, we enter a new era in our relationship with Apple," said Michael J. Attardo, general manager, IBM Microelectronics Division. "Apple has been our valued partner in PowerPC development and defining the PowerPC Platform specification. Today, we move forward to a relationship focused on enabling the industry for Mac OS."
"Licensing the Mac OS to IBM reinforces our business strategy of making the Macintosh platform available to a broader number of customers," said George Scalise, executive vice president and Chief Administrative Officer, Apple Computer, Inc. "IBM is already involved with us in a strategic alliance for the PowerPC microprocessor and the PowerPC Platform and has solid board and system manufacturer relationships worldwide that can be leveraged to proliferate the benefits of the Mac OS."
Datatech (DTK) Enterprises Co., LTD and Tatung Co., manufacturers of a range of computer equipment, will be among the first companies to announce their intent to sub-license the Mac OS from IBM. DTK is based in the U.S. with operations in China, Taiwan and Europe. Tatung is based in Taipei, Taiwan.
Also today, the first third-party system logic products and firmware for PowerPC Platform systems are being announced simultaneously by the following companies:
-VLSI Technology, Inc. of San Jose, Calif. is announcing its Gold Eagle support logic solution for PowerPC Platform systems. According to VLSI, these board-level components, which are in the final stages of development and testing, will help systems manufacturers build Mac OS computers offering clear price and performance advantages over machines based on other hardware/software architectures.
-FirmWorks, of Mt. View, Calif. is announcing immediate availability of Power Firmware, the first open firmware product for PowerPC Platform systems. Firmware is the microcode, or computer instructions, that reside in read-only memory (ROM). FirmWorks says this product significantly reduces the time and engineering resources needed by OEMs to build systems that can fully support the booting of multiple operating systems such as the Mac OS, Windows NT and others.
The IBM Microelectronics Division is working with industry makers of a variety of system logic products, firmware and motherboards - the electronic circuitry and microcode surrounding the microprocessor - to rapidly bring to market a full array of hardware solutions for the Mac OS platform including PowerPC Platform systems. To support its licensees and third-party providers of Mac products, IBM expects to open three Mac OS technical support centers: in Taiwan, the U.S. and Europe.
Additionally, IBM Microelectronics is working with its PowerPC development partners on PowerPC Platform reference designs that will be available to the industry later this year. These reference designs can be customized by motherboard manufacturers and systems integrators to develop their own differentiated systems and will make it easier and more cost-effective for OEMs to build Mac hardware and systems.
The licensing agreement allows IBM to sub-license the Mac OS anywhere in the world and in any market segment. Systems manufacturers can tap potential opportunities in emerging Asian markets and differentiate their systems in U.S. and European markets.
"We see significant Mac OS growth potential worldwide," said John C. Gleason, vice president and general manager of worldwide marketing and sales, IBM Microelectronics, "particularly in Asia and Japan for high-volume notebooks, sub-notebooks and entry desktop systems."
PowerPC microprocessors are made by the IBM Microelectronics Division for Apple's portable, desktop and server products, IBM portables, workstations servers and clients, and a growing number of other computer makers.
The PowerPC Platform is an open, standard system architecture that has the PowerPC microprocessor at its core. Systems built to the PowerPC Platform architecture specification are capable of running Mac OS and a choice of other operating systems from IBM, Microsoft and Sun.
IBM, IBM Microelectronics, PowerPC and POWER are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. Apple, Macintosh and Mac OS are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. Gold Eagle is a trademark of VLSI Technology, Inc. Power Firmware is a trademark of FirmWorks. Other brand or product names are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective holders.