IBM to license Power chip design to Google, others

IBM has joined forces with Google as it launches an effort to expand the use of its Power platform and reverse declines in its hardware business.

Its strategy involves licensing designs of the Power microprocessor architecture to Google and other companies through an alliance called the OpenPower Consortium, which IBM and Google announced earlier this month. Consortium members will be able to make Power chips, and component companies will be able to make hardware that can be integrated with the processor.

OpenPower members include graphics chip maker Nvidia, server maker Tyan, and Mellanox, which makes networking and storage equipment. The first products from alliance partners could be based on IBM's upcoming Power8 design, said Brad McCredie, vice president and CTO for IBM's Systems and Technology Group.

For its part, Google, which designs its own servers, could create its own integrated chip -- also called system on a chip -- based on the Power architecture, said Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron.

That could help IBM realize its goal of pushing Power chips into more servers, which could in turn prop up its other businesses, McCarron said.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

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