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Intel Hardware News

Oracle Claims Intel Is Looking To Sink the Itanic 235

Blacklaw writes "Intel's ill-fated Itanium line has lost another supporter, with Oracle announcing that it is to immediately stop all software development on the platform. 'After multiple conversations with Intel senior management Oracle has decided to discontinue all software development on the Intel Itanium microprocessor,' a company spokesperson claimed. 'Intel management made it clear that their strategic focus is on their x86 microprocessor and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life.'"
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Oracle Claims Intel Is Looking To Sink the Itanic

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  • by Ultra64 ( 318705 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:23PM (#35593936)

    I didn't realize the Itanium was still being produced. I thought they shut it down years ago.

  • Re:Sparc (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:28PM (#35593968)

    It's cleverer, and assholeyer than just saying that.

    Old Lawyer's trick.

    Instead of saying the obvious, i.e. "We won't support our competitor's (HP) fastest computers because we make hardware now" Oracle spreads FUD about the longevity of their competitor's product line by virtue of leaking information from anonymous sources in their competitors' sole supplier.

    Even if Intel and HP completely deny it, their customers will be thinking it all along.

  • Re:Sparc (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schmidt349 ( 690948 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:49PM (#35594104)

    There's hardly any good reason to choose anything else over it, either.

    Well, yes and no. Certainly in the space between the notebook computer and any but the mightiest supercomputers there's no reason at all not to go with x86. But in the mobile processor space, where ultra-low TDP is the order of the day, ARM has a big leg up on x64. Intel sold out their Xscale division (which was only ARM 5 anyway) and now they're losing this increasingly important segment of the market.

    I'm not counting Intel out by a long shot in that race, but ARM is the new hotness for most geeks.

  • Re:Sparc (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pavon ( 30274 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:51PM (#35594122)

    Unless of course they're telling the truth.

    Intel is strongly denying [intel.com] Oracle's claims that Itanium is near end-of-life. So it looks like more Oracle FUD, and probably intended to harm HP-UX rather than Intel.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @09:29PM (#35594336)

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-03-23/hp-calls-oracle-move-shameless-gambit-to-hurt-competition.html [businessweek.com]

    I'm much more inclined to believe Intel and HP on it. While the Itanium did not become the be-all, end-all for computers Intel hoped (they wanted to go to it because their cross licensing is for x86, not IA-64) it has not been a failure. People like to joke about it and rag on it but all it means is they've done little to no research. It is a competitive chip in the super high end market. When you need massive DB servers or the like, it is a real option and one that people use.

    Now as to what kind of future it'll have I can't say. The high end segment keeps shrinking as normal desktop hardware gets better and better. You can knock 4 8-core Xeons in a system right now and get some great performance at a good (relatively speaking) price.

    At any rate I wouldn't listen to anything Oracle says, particularly about competitors. They are not known for their truthfulness, or for their sense of fair play.

  • by Apotsy ( 84148 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @11:37PM (#35595044)
    Not that I'm a big fan of Carly, but you can't necessarily blame her for that. The decision for HP to go with Intel's fancy new solution was made in era of Lew Platt being CEO, well before Fiorina took over. I was at HP in the mid-90s and recall seeing roadmaps that showed HP's UNIX solutions all being based on the super-amazing upcoming new Intel architecture well before the end of the decade. PA-RISC was old and busted, and Intel had the new hotness just around the corner. The suits just couldn't say enough about what an unstoppable juggernaut Intel's new baby was going to be. According to them, it was going to solve everything, do everything, and pretty much take over the world.

    I left in 97, but I am sure those roadmaps had to be quietly adjusted each time Intel's new chip was delayed (over and over). It was well past 2000 when the thing finally came out, and in the end, it was a huge disappointment (dare I say disaster) after PA-RISC had been sailing along smoothly for so long. The perf was terrible, the instruction set was a mess, and pretty much the entire industry did their best to avoid it. I'm surprised it took this long for Intel to throw in the towel on it.

    PA-RISC really was a great series of CPUs. It's a shame it had to die. At one point I believe it actually surpassed the (at the time) much-vaunted DEC Alpha as the fastest thing on the market, if only for a little while. Itanium seemed designed solely to kill off the x86 CPU clone market. Intel came up with a completely new instruction set, and patented it so there would be no clones. Actually making a good chip did not seem to be a consideration.

    Good riddance to Itanium, and a bittersweet farewell and R.I.P. to PA-RISC.
  • Re:Sparc (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @11:49PM (#35595112) Journal

    And this segment is *important* because already, I do as much browsing and web-surfing on my Motorola Droid 2 Android phone as my fire breathing Intel Core i7 laptop computer.

    Remember that x86 started out as the cheap chip on the block that was "good enough" for basic stuff that little people could afford, and it slowly grew upward and increased its applicable market segments until it, now, is the high end of the marketplace.

    ARM is now potentially in a similar situation. And like the x86 before it, it has tremendous inertia in the smartphone platform, any of which are easily capable enough to operate as a PC for most uses for most people. It uses something less than 1/100th the power of my laptop and is a reasonable, convenient stand-in for said laptop for pretty much all personal use other than for my work. (I'm a software engineer)

    I've already started to note the conflict: do stuff on the phone or the laptop? So far, it's mostly worked because stuff I do on the phone is pretty much "in the cloud" and is accessible from the PC.

    But Pictures? I've taken a few hundred pictures, and keeping them in synch starts to become a hassle...

    At some point, it could make sense to jump, to switch from one to the other. Why couldn't my phone have a plug or a bluetooth connection to a keyboard, monitor, etc?

  • by Apotsy ( 84148 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @11:50PM (#35595122)
    Oh and I have to mention that HP's decision wasn't necessarily a bad one given the trends that were happening in the mid-to-late 1990s. The big story in everyone's minds was that expensive UNIX workstations were on the way out, to be replaced almost overnight by cheap commodity PCs running WindowsNT (don't laugh, it was the first "Windows" to be taken seriously). SGI pretty much lost their entire hardware business that way. HP was just trying to save themselves from that fate by hitching their future to what looked to be the industry's dominant player.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @11:54PM (#35595144)

    Comes from the general geek thing of liking the underdog (though one has to ask how underdog they really are given their mass marketshare in embedded devices) and from hating CISC. A lot of geeks take CS classes and learn a bit about processor theory, but not any of the CE/EE to understand the lower levels and thus decide CISC = bad RISC = good.

    What it all adds up to is they hate on Intel and love ARM, and want to see ARM in the desktop space.

    As you said, I've yet to see anything showing ARM is faster than Intel in an equal setting. Yes, a Core i7 uses a lot of power. However it does a lot. Not only is it fast at the sort of operations ARM does, it does other things as well. Like 64-bit. You think ARM isn't doing that just because they are jerks? No, it is because 64-bit needs more silicon, and thus more power. How about heavy hitting vector units? Same deal.

    ARM is great for what it does but those who think that it is some amazing x86 replacement just haven't done any looking. Turns out Intel is pretty much the best there ever was when it comes to getting a lot out of silicon. They produce some powerful chips. Could ARM design one as powerful? Maybe, but guess what? It wouldn't be a tiny fraction of a watt deal anymore. It'd be as big and power hungry as Intel's offerings.

    You can see this from other companies as well. If x86 really was the problem, and another architecture could do so much more with less, then why doesn't anyone else do it? Remember IBM, Hitchai, Sun, they all made non-x86 chips. Yet none of them are killing Intel in terms of performance for watts. IBMs POWER chips are a great example. They have an apt name: They are fast as hell, and draw a ton of energy. They really are for high end servers (which is what IBM designed them for). Despite being RISC based (though you find desktop/server RISC chips are quite complex both in terms of number of instructions and capability) they are not some amazing low power monsters that can rip x86 apart. They are fast, powerful, high end chips that take a lot of silicon and a lot of juice to do what they do. Go have a look at the massive heatsink for a POWER5 chip on Wikipedia.

    Different chips, different markets.

  • by jabjoe ( 1042100 ) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @05:24AM (#35596304)
    My money on 'why' is Windows compatibility and closed source locking the platform more than chip design. The best design doesn't always win, in fact, it often doesn't. This was because of Windows going critical mass and with it x86. So much money was poured into x86 you just got more for your money with x86, and the more that was the case, the more sold, and the more it was the case. This meant it came into the server market from the bottom, and then the same happened there. It's a good example of a bottom up revolution. Now it looks like Wintel compatibility doesn't matter so much (web/freesoftware), and something similar could happen with ARM driven by them being "good enough", cheap and low power. That's why Intel are pooing their pants and MS are hedging their bets with Windows on ARM.
  • Re:...and? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <[gro.rfeoothb] [ta] [rfeoothb]> on Thursday March 24, 2011 @05:59AM (#35596496) Homepage Journal

    It's a FUD attack at HP, Oracle's newest enemy, FWIW.

    (HP is the only company that really uses Itanium any more.)

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