Let's say you're a blue-chip company with 2004 revenue in excess of $96 billion, and one of your customers -- a company known mainly these days for, say, an exceedingly cool-looking MP3 player -- opts to abandon the processor you supply for a cooler one (in terms of temperature, anyway) made by Intel
Quick: What's your likely reaction?
Well, when the company in question is IBM
Yes, Intel's chip runs cooler than IBM's processor -- a big deal especially when it comes to the performance of laptops -- and, as my colleague Tim Beyers reports here, Apple had ample reason to have, um, a chip on its shoulder, given the way Big Blue failed to deliver in time for last year's back-to-school computer-buying season.
Still, there's all that messy software reengineering that will have to go on in light of the processor change, and while Jobs is a proven innovator, he's never been an especially gifted corporate diplomat. With that in mind, he may want to outsource the job of working with the grizzled tech veterans at such companies as Microsoft
As it is, according to an article that appeared today on appleinsider.com, Jobs has outsourced part of the job of creating software to ease the transition -- an application called "Rosetta" -- to Transitive Technologies, a small company that operates out of Los Gatos, Calif.
The other Foolish bottom line
If Rosetta works as advertised, that'll be great news for software developers -- and for Apple and its fans, of which I am most certainly one. Indeed, I'd guesstimate that I've got nearly a century's worth of music on my iPod right now.
Still -- and to borrow a phrase from a grizzled tech veteran with whom I used to work -- when it comes to massive re-engineering projects like the one Apple has just bitten off, it's best to anticipate "the usual, unexpected problems."
Indeed, for now, I think the onus is on Jobs & Co. to prove to consumers and developers alike that they've made they right call.
Shannon Zimmerman, lead analyst of The Motley Fool's Champion Funds newsletter, would be lost without his iPod, but when it comes to computers, he's been a Wintel guy all along. Shannon doesn't own any of the securities mentioned above, and the Fool has a strict disclosure policy .