PowerPC is a RISC architecture created by the 1991 Apple–IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, which was eventually divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011, after losing $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009...

 alliance, known as AIM
AIM alliance
The AIM alliance was an alliance formed on October 2, 1991, between Apple Inc. , IBM, and Motorola to create a new computing standard based on the PowerPC architecture. The stated goal of the alliance was to challenge the dominant Wintel computing platform with a new computer design and a...

. PowerPC, as an evolving instruction set, has since 2006 been renamed Power ISA but lives on as a legacy trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 for some implementations of Power Architecture
Power Architecture
Power Architecture is a broad term to describe similar RISC instruction sets for microprocessors developed and manufactured by such companies as IBM, Freescale, AMCC, Tundra and P.A. Semi...

 based processors.

Originally intended for personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

s, PowerPC CPUs have since become popular as embedded
Embedded system
An embedded system is a computer system designed for specific control functions within a larger system. often with real-time computing constraints. It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts. By contrast, a general-purpose computer, such as a personal...

 and high-performance processors. PowerPC was the cornerstone of AIM's PReP
Prep may refer to:* A nickname for anything associated with a University-preparatory school, such as:** A member of the Preppy social group, stemming from the word "preparatory"** Another name for someone who attends a preparatory school in the US...

 and Common Hardware Reference Platform
Common Hardware Reference Platform
Common Hardware Reference Platform was a standard system architecture for PowerPC based computer systems published jointly by IBM and Apple in 1995. Like its predecessor PReP, it was conceptualized as a design to allow various operating systems to run on an industry standard hardware platform,...

 initiatives in the 1990s and while the architecture is well known for being used by Apple's Macintosh
The Macintosh , or Mac, is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced by Apple's then-chairman Steve Jobs on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a...

 lines from 1994 to 2006 (before Apple's transition to Intel), its use in video game consoles and embedded applications far exceeded Apple's use.

PowerPC is largely based on IBM's earlier POWER
POWER is a reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by IBM. The name is an acronym for Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC....

 architecture, and retains a high level of compatibility with it; the architectures have remained close enough that the same programs and operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

s will run on both if some care is taken in preparation; newer chips in the POWER series implement the full PowerPC instruction set.
The history of RISC began with IBM's 801
IBM 801
The 801 was an experimental minicomputer designed by IBM. The resulting architecture was used in various roles in IBM until the 1980s. The 801 was started as a pure research project led by John Cocke in October 1975 at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center. The name 801 comes from the building the...

 research project, on which John Cocke
John Cocke
John Cocke was an American computer scientist recognized for his large contribution to computer architecture and optimizing compiler design. He is considered by many to be "the father of RISC architecture."...

 was the lead developer.