A new book has detailed the work of Toshiba, IBM and Sony on building the Cell processor that was going to be used on the PlayStation 3. Called The Race For A New Game Machine, it was written by David Shippy and Mickie Phipps – both who worked on the development on the processor.
The book says that the partnership began at 2001, which saw all three companies committed to spending $400 million over five years; but in 2002, Microsoft asked IBM if they would make a chip for the Xbox 360. IBM even gone so far in allowing them to see the specs of the still-in-development processor that it was working with Toshiba and Sony.
While they agreed that IBM would sell it, they did not know that IBM would sell it before it reached the PlayStation 3 – effectively meaning that Sony was helping build a component for Microsoft that would compete against it.
And while both processor designs made the manufacturing division within IBM, the first batch had a problem; which forced Sony to delay the PlayStation 3 for a year. Microsoft, however, got a backup manufacturer to build the chips, thus allowing the Xbox 360 out into the mass market (only to have problems a little later).
A troubled past for a troubled system? That’s what it sounds like to me.