Intel CPUs Making Inroads Against PowerPC in Embedded COTS Mil/Aero Applications

9/9/2002 - Traditionally, usage of PowerPC CPUs has dominated in COTS Military and Aerospace applications, but there are indications that this is changing. A recent study by Venture Development Corporation, entitled The North American Market for Embedded COTS Systems in Military, Aerospace and Defense, found that PowerPC CPUs were used in 62.6% of current shipments of merchant COTS Single Board Computers and CPU modules shipped to these markets. Intel CPUs were used in 26.7% of shipments of these boards. This was in line with expectations.

This data was obtained through extensive interviews with leading vendors of these boards. These vendors indicated that they anticipated little change in this distribution through year 2006.

VDC also conducted a survey among purchasers of these boards, including Defense Contractors and Subcontractors, OEMs, Systems Integrators, and the like. The results of this survey, as regards CPU usage, were substantially different.

Users were asked to identify COTS projects in which their firms were involved, which had been started in 2001 or 2002. They were also asked to list the CPU types included in SBCs and CPU modules purchased for these projects. PowerPC CPUs represented only 41.9% of identified types, while Intel CPUs represented 36.5%. Reported usage of "other" CPU types (MIPS, AMD, etc.) was also substantially higher among users than among vendors.

Although the nature of the user data (projects in development) precludes its use in accurately quantifying future shipments, VDC is confident that this trend is real. Suppliers of COTS boards and systems should, therefore, watch these developments closely, and be prepared to quickly offer Intel-based product when the need arises.

About the Study
The report, The North American Market for Embedded COTS Systems in Military, Aerospace and Defense, is a multiclient study designed to provide subscribers with relevant and up-to-date market intelligence to support strategic marketing and product planning decisions. This report includes:

About Venture Development (
Venture Development Corporation, a technology market research and strategy firm, was founded in 1971 by graduates of Harvard Business School and MIT. Over the years, VDC has developed and fine-tuned a unique and highly successful methodology for forecasting and analyzing dynamic technology markets. VDC has extensive experience in providing analysis of electronic components markets. This includes multiclient and custom consulting engagements in a broad spectrum of related topics including embedded hardware and software, relays, switches, RFID, AIDC, MEMS, sensors, telecommunications, and others.

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