Apple was dealt two further blows last week as it lost its largest European customer and clone maker Umax announced it would be making Intel-based machines.
Mercury is to replace all its Macs with Intel boxes. The telecommunications company struck a multi-million pound deal with Apple in the early 90s to standardise on the platform throughout Europe.
According to Mercury, the decision will bring the company's systems in line with those of the three cable operators it merged with earlier this year: Videotron, Bell Cablemedia and Nynex CableComm. However, the move reflects Apple's dwindling popularity.
According to analysts, recent moves by the company to shut down the Mac clone market in order to retain some of its market share are only delaying the inevitable.
Michael Gartenberg, research director at the Gartner Group, commented: "The reality is, no-one wants to buy Macs anymore. Apple is just delaying the downward spiral."
Last week Umax said it would be entering the Intel-based notebook market later this year. The notebooks will use Intel's newest mobile Pentium MMX chip - Tillamook.
Power Computing, the largest of the clone makers which was purchased by Apple earlier this month, is still going ahead with plans to launch its own range of Intel-based notebooks this month. The notebooks will also run on Tillamook.
Power's founder and CEO Steve Kahng is confident the company's past success with Mac clones will rub off on the Intel systems. He doubts the company will be forced to compete against established players such as Compaq, Hewlett-Packard or IBM. "They are not really doing truly direct PC sales and we are," he said.
Apple: Newton returns
Apple confirmed last week that it would be reeling its Newton subsidiary back into the fold. The division had been spun off less than two months ago with staff relocated to the US from the UK to help run the company.
According to Apple, following Newton's return, a new division will be created for it's e-mate 300 (left), a notebook based on the Newton operating system, which is currently only sold to the education markets.
Apple executives said the company considers the e-mate a "major strategic opportunity".
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