Former Mac boss thinks Apple Silicon could break up Windows and Intel

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Microsoft Surface Pro X
Now that Apple is giving up Intel, and Surface Pro X shows Microsoft is considering it, the future could be grim for Intel.
Photo: Microsoft

Macs moving from Intel to Apple Silicon could cause Windows computer-makers to dump Intel as well, according to Jean-Louis Gassée, the former head of Mac development back in the 1980s. He thinks the move could be led by Microsoft.

Apple has barely begun the change, but Gassée is optimistic. He points out that his iPad Pro offers benchmarks similar to his MacBook Pro while apparently using less power. And there’s another drawback to the laptop: “My MacBook Pro gets hot…really hot,” Gassée wrote in a blog post Sunday.

Apple Silicon, Microsoft lead the charge away from Intel

Next, the former head of Mac development points out that Microsoft already offers Windows computers running on ARM-based processors — the same general type that Apple uses. But the Surface Go X uses an emulator to simulate an Intel processor, negatively affecting performance.

Gassée sounds confident that Macs running Apple Silicon will prove noticeably superior to Windows PCs running Intel chips.”This leaves Microsoft with a choice: Either forget Windows on ARM and cede modern PCs to Apple, or forge ahead, fix app compatibility problems and offer an ARM-based alternative to Apple’s new Macs,” he writes.

This will lead to Dell, HP, Asus and others following suit “if the newer machines are actually better,” according to Gassée.

And that will drag Intel along, too. If PC-makers start producing large numbers of Windows computers with ARM processors, then Intel will need to start making its own ARM chips.

Just note that Gassée doesn’t pretend to be unbiased — he’s a decades-long supporter of Apple. But he also has wide experience. In the 1990s, he founded Be Inc., creator of BeOS. In 2004, he became chairman of PalmSource.