Graig Barrett, hoogste pipo bij Intel, heeft op de Gartner ITExpo door laten schemeren dat het volgens hem nog 10 jaar kan duren voordat 64-bit zachtgoed & processors volledig naar de desktop ingeburgerd zijn. Dit terwijl men eerder gezegd heeft dat de McKinley (opvolger van Itanium) al in 2002 richting mainstream moet zakken. The Register heeft er het volgende over op te merken:
He did have some ominous words to say about the move to 64-bit, suggesting that it could be five to ten years before it would be the norm on the desktop; he compared this to the ten years between the introduction of the 80386 and the significant development of 32-bit desktop applications. If it's really going to take ten years, then we can maybe start wondering about Intel's roadmapping. The company officially reckons McKinley, the iteration after Merced, will be the 64-bit Intel chip that moves into the mainstream, but that's hardly a ten years from now product.
Intel does intend to keep plugging away at 32-bit alongside 64-bit for a few years, so Barrett could be signalling that this plan will be extended. Or alternatively, we could bear in mind that Intel was happily selling 386 chips for several years before the software started to catch up.
But there were reasons for the slow development of the software that probably don't apply these days. At the 386 introduction Microsoft and IBM were in the driving seat (and incidentally still squabble over whose fault it was they originally aimed OS/2 at the 286). These days we've got Linux and several flavours of Unix aimed at IA-64, so take-up is likely to be a lot faster. But that's software, and a problem for Microsoft - so Barrett should worry.