This is the third article in a series that I started in 2000 with The Looming Battle in 64 bit Land and updated with The Battle in 64 bit Land Revisited in 2001. In the year and a half since there have been a number of important events in this esoteric but important market segment. These events are reviewed and then attention is turned to 2003, a crucial year for determining the future leaders in the high end 64 bit MPU market.
Winners and Losers under a Darkening Sky
The most important events in the 64 bit universe in the past year and a half have been outside the technical arena. Dominating everything was a major industry downturn from a weakened economy, reduced capital spending due to the events of September 11th and recent U.S. corporate scandals. Especially hard hit was Sun Microsystems which suffered a significant reduction in revenue, down 32% from two years ago in the face of both the down turn in the economy and increasing competitive pressure, mainly from Dell and IBM . Sun was squeezed hard between low cost and powerful x86 based servers on the low end and IBM’s successful introduction of POWER4 based systems on the high end.
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