Skip to content or navigation

Commentary: Papermaster not to set foot in Cupertino

Apple looks set to grab one of IBM’s elite vice president-level managers – a 26 year IBM veteran with deep intellectual property history and direct knowledge of IBM chip design strategy. Yet IBM files suit to stop Papermaster from setting foot in Cupertino.

Continued from page 1

Some speculate that Apple is serious about its future with the Xserve and that perhaps Papermaster will help Apple rev up its enterprise offerings. Mark Papermaster was last in charge of IBM’s Blade Server division. That is very unlikely since Apple needs far more than a blade server genius to make it in the enterprise. To make it there it would need an entire enterprise sales and support division. That runs entirely counter to how service and sales work at Apple now — wrapped around Apple Stores. 

Larry Dignan of ZDNet states that Papermaster could be useful to Apple’s MobileMe initiatives and cloud computing. Like the enterprise server theory that too seems a stretch. Apple would be better served by learning and cooperating with its new best buddy, Google. And Apple would be ill-served by strategically planning to battle Google directly with cloud computing. It would be far better to partner as both Apple and Google have a common enemy in Microsoft. 

Papermaster’s role at Apple is a mystery but his experiences and know-how at IBM are suggestive. Papermaster has deep chip design experience and knowledge of IBM’s future plans with the Power Architecture. Three IBM whitepapers by Mark Papermaster all pertain to modern concerns behind processor design that are relevant to Apple.

One such paper addresses modern programs and modern cache design. Another centers on high-performance PowerPC processors, while a third deals with branch predictability of programs in synthetic workloads. This last one has broad applicability to the development of methods of estimating, measuring and comparing the performance of computer systems by utilizing “parametric synthetic workloads” that mimic the behavior of long-running real world applications. 

If Apple’s interest in PA Semi is multifaceted and ultimately interested in developing silicon technologies that uniquely position Apple’s three major platforms (Mac, iPhone and iPod) for optimal future competitiveness, certainly Papermaster’s deep history at IBM and knowledge of Power Architecture and chip design in general could very well serve the interest of Jobs & Co. at Apple. Papermaster is more likely another critical addition to Apple’s already superstar team of PA Semi engineers.

Pages >

Reader Comments

  1. The link for the article above is here:

    ARM’s processor licenses are described here:

  2. There have been several stories today regarding Apple’s reported goals with the use of Mr. Mark Papermaster. He would likely lead iPhone and iPod engineering at the silicon level, leading the brilliant engineers from PA Semi and designing a custom ARM-based processor that competitors cannot easily emulate.

    This Forbes article is a good start. It fails to provide a key fact though….that PA Semi had a special type of ARM license that allowed it to create solely unique ARM designs utilizing ARM-based architectures and ARM patents. This ARM license is called an Architecture License and is described as being given to licensees who can develop their own CPU implementations compliant with ARM’s Instruction Set Architecture. This is analogous to the license that AMD has with Intel.

    Basically then Apple can design-engineer wholly unique microprocessors which will execute the ARM ISA (instruction set architecture). Readers should be aware that Apple has already demonstrated that it can simultaneously develop and maintain OS code bases on multiple processor instruction set architectures — most notably in x86 and PowerPC with Mac Universal. They also maintain the iPhone’s OS X operating systems for ARM’s ISA.

  3. The link for the article above is here:

    ARM’s processor licenses are described here:

Comments are closed.

INSIDER Xpresso keeps CAD industry professionals up-to-date on next-gen emerging technologies (emTech) that will revolutionize the worlds of AEC and manufacturing and design. As an Xpresso reader, you will hear from some of the most important voices inventing and using the very latest tech in areas such as AI, machine learning, algorithm-aided design (AAD), AR, VR, MR, 3D printing, 3D computer vision, robotics, and SmartCities technologies.

Each issue arrives in your inbox on the first Sunday of the month. Issue #1 arrived on March 3, 2019. Full archives and easy navigation for your pleasure. Enjoy! 

Sign-up for our monthly newsletter
architosh INSIDER Xpresso.

  • Architosh will never pass any of your information onto third parties.
  • For more information read our privacy policy.
  • It is easy to unsubscribe at any time. Follow the links in the newletter footer.

(Recommended. These infrequent sponsored emails help us to provide our Xpresso newsletter for free.)

INSIDER Membership

Read 3 free Feature or Analysis articles per month.

Or, subscribe now for unlimited full access to Architosh.