Thursday, April 24, 2014
When does it make sense to give away proprietary technology? When it risks being eclipsed and failing as a product. That is the decision IBM has made for its Power microprocessors. It has turned the chip into open architecture to get more people to use it. Now, IBM will need to build relations with collaborators who adopt the chip design. The OpenPower Foundation already has two dozen members. Public relations among manufacturers is often fractious because each lets self-interest control decisions. It takes a far-sighted CEO to understand that cooperation is better in the long run. IBM is clearly hoping that its collaborators are willing to work with it, but the company should not be surprised if foundation members are demanding and attempting to modify the Power chip to make it once again proprietary to their designs.