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Agreement called major step in computer's evolution.

A recent series of agreements between Apple, IBM and Motorola is being touted as a major step in the evolution of the computer.

Under five agreements signed late last fall, the three companies will jointly develop PowerPC microprocessors for use in low-cost RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) systems, an open-systems operating platform, object-oriented software, multimedia technologies and Apple to IBM systems networking.

"We like to think of it as a marriage where everybody wins," notes IBM spokesman Stan Didzbalis.

According to Didzbalis, the agreements give his company an opportunity to take advantage of Apple's expertise in desktop publishing and user-friendly programs.

Apple benefits with increased access to the business computer market.

PowerPC microprocessors, which reduce the number of instructions required to carry out a single command, will be incorporated into Apple's Macintosh computers and into IBM's workstations and servers. IBM will manufacture the chips for its own use, while Motorola will manufacture the chips for Apple and will market the chips to other companies.

PowerPC is the hardware portion of what the three companies call PowerOpen - a system which will allow Apple and IBM applications to be used on PowerPCs.

PowerPC products are expected to hit the market in two or three years. They will give Macintosh PC users access to IBM mainframe and PC networks.

To make this possible Apple has licensed Token-Ring from IBM, while IBM has licensed the source code for AppleTalk protocols.

"The advantage is that new technology will complement current products rather than exclude them," says Julian Daniel of North Star Computers in Sudbury.

However, Daniel admits that not everyone will be happy with the new arrangement.

"(IBM) Clones are dead in the water," he says.

Daniel says exiting IBM clones will not be able to use the new technology and resulting programming. He expects to see the owners of clone computers switch to Apple or IBM systems when they realize that they cannot take advantage of the new technology.

"It's definitely going to give clones a run for their money," says Didzbalis.

However, he believes the clone producers will hold on to their primary market - the stand-alone PC.

PROGRAMMING

Apple and IBM will form a joint-venture company to develop object-oriented software.

Daniel says Apple has utilized this type of programming since Macintosh computers were first introduced.

"It's not a new technology. It's just something the rest of the industry has not done much with," he explains.

Object-oriented programming is more readily upgraded or expanded than the procedural-based programming used by most of the computer industry. That is because the data is put into modules which can be combined or interchanged.

Didzbalis says the Apple-IBM agreement will "make it (object-oriented programming) more mainstream and will allow the application to be expanded."

The agreement is expected to reduce the cost and time for developing programs and improve the quality of the applications.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Apple Computer Inc., International Business Machines Corp. and Motorola Inc. sign five agreements
Author:Krejlgaard, Chris
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Words:476
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