Apple and Intel

2015-07-08 2 min read

    I recently finished The Intel Trinity which detailed the history of Intel and its rise from a small memory manufacturer to the leader in microprocessors. The entire book is worth a read if you’re interested in startups and the rise of Silicon Valley but one anecdote that immediately stood out was about the reason Apple didn’t use Intel chips until 2005. Before then Macs relied on MOS Technology, Motorola and PowerPC chips. The Intel Trinity makes the case that the reason Apple waited so long to adopt Intel chips was due to the fact that Steve Wozniak didn’t have enough money to build the Apple I prototype using Intel and had to resort to the cheaper option - a MOS 6502/Motorola 6800. And the reason Steve Wozniak didn’t have enough money was because Steve Jobs didn’t split the Atari payment fairly between them and took the lion’s share without even telling Steve Wozniak about it.

    After a tiny bit of digging around the concensus seems to be that this is most likely a fabrication and even if Wozniak had the money he would have still gone with the Motorola chip - he was more familiar with the technology and the end goal was to make an affordable personal computer which would have been impossible with the Intel chip. It does make one wonder what the history of Apple and the computer industry would look like had they adopted Intel at the very beginning rather than in 2005.