, citing scheduling difficulties.
Ellison, who is chairman and CEO of Oracle, has served on Apple's board for five years but announced on Friday he would step down because "my schedule does not currently allow me to attend enough of the formal board meetings to warrant a role as a director."
The news of Ellison's departure comes amidst published reports that Apple is quietly testing a 64-bit processor from IBM'sMicroelectronics division for use in its Mac OS X-based hardware.
Apple is reportedly testing IBM's GigaProcessor Ultralite (GPUL) processor in its high-end Power Mac G4 and server products. Apple officials could not be reached at press time for comment.
The 1GHz GPUL processor is promising to greatly increase the performance of the 1GHz Motorola PowerPC G4 processor in existing Macintosh systems.
Apple has begun to ship the high-end Power Mac G4 with dual 1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 processors, dubbing it as the fastest Mac ever. The system is built with a new Xserve architecture that supports up to 2GB of Double Data Rate (DDR) memory at up to 333 MHz.
The new computer, which is expected to retail online and offline for $3,299, ships with the Mac OS 10.2 "Jaguar" operating system pre-installed.