Motorola has cancelled the launch of its next-generation Mac clone machines following major changes to Apple's MacOS licensing policy last week.
Motorola was due to launch its StarMax Pro 6000 range (right) in the UK today. The PowerPC-based machines were first announced in the US in July. However, last week the company stated it would not be shipping any of the new systems for the foreseeable future.
In a letter Motorola stated: "Apple has announced major changes with regards to licensing of MacOS beyond version 8 and has said that it has no plans to allow the compatible manufacturers to ship CHRP (Common Hardware Reference Platform) machines. The decision comes at a time when the MacOS compatibles market is booming and it impedes the introduction of the fastest Mac-compatible machine, the StarMax Pro 6000."
Apple will no longer license MacOS 8, CHRP or PowerBook designs. It has also scrapped its cheap upgrade policy. Under the scheme, clone makers could upgrade to the latest version of MacOS for just $9.95, a saving of $60 on the normal price.
The changes coincided with the company's $100 million (#62 million) purchase of Power Computing, the largest manufacturer of Mac clones. Power Computing is to stop shipping clones at the end of the year, leaving just Motorola and Umax Computer left in that market.
Apple chief financial officer Fred Anderson said Apple was buying Power not to eliminate competition but to recoup massive investments in R&D.
He added that Mac cloners never expanded the market but only took share away from Apple.
Michael Gartenberg, research director at the Gartner Group, said he wasn't surprised by Apple's change of mind. "Licensing never made any sense for Apple. If Motorola and the other clone vendors have got burned then they were naive in the first place to believe it would ever work."
- leader, page 28.
Motorola and Apple - a history
Late 70s Motorola supplies Apple with microprocessors for the Apple II.
1991 IBM and Apple form PowerPC alliance.
1994 Apple puts PowerPC on the Mac.
1995 Apple licenses MacOS to third parties
Feb 1996 StarMax range launched in US.
Nov 1996 StarMax ships in US
1997 StarMax ships in the UK.
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