Feeds

IBM knifes Crusoe ThinkPad on eve of Transmeta IPO

For sale: one demo Crusoe ThinkPad 240, one confused owner...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

A wheel has finally fallen off the Transmeta bandwagon, quite possibly taking some millions of dollars of next week's IPO price with it. IBM has spiked its plans to produce a Crusoe-based ThinkPad 240 this quarter, pleading mysteriously that the beast doesn't fit into its marketing plans.

Did Intel get to IBM? Or should we read "manufacturing" for "marketing"? Probably a little of both. Assuming that production hadn't started already, IBM had left it pretty late to push the button, and the "Q4" shipments would hardly have made it into the channel before Christmas interrupted. And despite having shown one of its famous "technology demonstrations" of a Crusoe 240 at PX Expo, IBM has been seriously outhyped by Sony et al, who have announced Transmeta products (several times apiece) and even started shipping some of them.

So maybe we could read that as "our marketing plans are toast, and we screwed up on manufacturing again."

But if the cold hand of Chipzilla didn't also play a part, it might as well have done. By putting the knife into Transmeta IBM will have boosted relations with Intel massively, and should be able to leverage this into rich, perhaps Dell-like, rewards. Historically IBM has been pretty well down-the-line Intel for ThinkPads, and the cancellation (they say "on hold," but in reality the hour has passed) of the Crusoe project nails that arrangement down more securely.

IBM's planners may also have been influenced by performance-based FUD. Crusoe doesn't perform well in traditional single-pass benchmarks, but as it 'learns' about the software it's running it does a lot better in real life scenarios. As we pointed out last week several largely meaningless benchmarks have already been published, and people who should know better have scampered off with "doubts about Crusoe performance" stories.

Internally IBM may have conducted more appropriate tests and concluded that Crusoe's performance is inadequate, but if the decision really was benchmark-related it's more likely that the marketing people, from the position of ignorance prevalent within their discipline, were worried by the spurious ones rather than impressed by more valid testing processes.

This does however point up a serious marketing vulnerability for Transmeta. Normal benchmarks don't work, but until the company can get benchmarking outfits to devise new systems that do, Crusoe will be a largely unknown quantity, which at best will be though of as probably a bit slower than an Intel equivalent. The Transmeta pitch is that in real life it'll win out, and that battery life advantages will impress users.

But first it has to get to users; the FUD and IBM's defection doesn't help this at all. ®

Related Stories

Transmeta talks benchmarks ... and 10 hour charges
Transmeta speed debate - damned lies and benchmarks?

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.