A product backlog estimated by Apple itself to be worth nearly $700,000 million has thrown the Mac market into chaos following an abortive attempt by Apple to raise prices on its G4 range.
Last Wednesday Apple announced that it would replace its existing product range of 400, 450 and 500MHz PowerMac G4s with slower equivalents running at 350, 400 and 450MHz respectively.
The slower chip speeds reflected the greater availability of slower G4 chips from Motorola, and was initially welcomed as a decisive and inevitable response to a backlog crisis.
However, two aspects of Apple's plans provoked fury from customers and resellers, Firstly Apple, citing escalating memory chip prices, said that it would sell the new, slower G4 PowerMacs at the same prices as the withdrawn faster models.
Even more contentiously, Apple also announced that it would not honour the unfulfilled orders placed by resellers and customers. Instead it invited its customers to re-order the new, less attractive configurations and wait even longer for delivery.
However, an outraged response from customers and dealers has forced Apple, after a number of half-hearted evasive actions, to partially reverse the decision.
As of yesterday the company will honour all orders at the original price and specifications for all G4 Power Macs ordered before Wednesday 13 October when the whole shambles began.
But the position for people who ordered 500MHz G4 Power Macs is still unclear, and at the time of writing it is not certain what fate will befall UK Mac customers.
"I am almost certain that Apple UK will follow the lead of the US and reinstate all back orders both to customers and dealers for 400 and 450MHz Power Macs," said an Apple UK spokesman.
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