Another nail was hammered into the coffin of the Mac clone market last week with the news that Power Computing had gone out of business.
A recorded message at Power?s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas - "We are no longer taking any orders for any new systems" - is the sole remaining evidence of the company that was Apple?s biggest clone rival in 1996, when Power reported annual revenues of $400 million and controlled 10 per cent of the Mac market.
According to US reports, the company sold all its possessions- paperclips and all - in an auction last Thursday, following an announcement that Power was seeking shareholder approval to liquidate.
The company sold its core Mac clone assets to Apple itself late last year, but had failed to reinvent itself as a more mainstream supplier. As recently as July last year it was seen as a contender in the low budget PC market, taking on the likes of Gateway and Dell, when it announced it would begin selling Intel-based PCs (See Newswire 1 July 1997). But the market proved too cut throat.
?Power was until recently Apple?s biggest competitor in terms of high end hardware,? said IDC analyst Randy Guisto. ?Apple succeeded in squeezing them out once they decided that they didn?t like the market share they had. There are no longer any significant players left in the Mac clone market.?
The news follows months of bitterness between Mac clonemakers and Apple - with Power being the most outspoken critic of new restrictions Apple chief Steve Jobs put on licensing technology.
Last September Apple stated that it would refuse to supply future operating system technology to licensees and changed the terms of the current licensing agreement. Clonemakers would have to buy future OS upgrades from computer stores for $69.95, seven times more than under the Up-to-Date Licensing system they had previously enjoyed.
Power?s fate was effectively sealed when Apple announced it had no more plans to allow manufacturers to ship machines conforming to its common hardware reference platform. With nearly 99 per cent of Power?s sales going to Apple?s customer base, the writing was on the wall, and shortly after, Apple announced it was taking Power Computing?s core Mac assets off its hands for $100 million.
As one of the first companies to produce clone Apple boxes, Power found success in selling them via mail order much cheaper than Apple, which appealed to buyers with low IT budgets, such as schools and colleges.
Following the Apple deal and the resignation of outspoken chief operating officer Joel Kocher, Power lost all direction.
Last Friday, no-one was available for comment, though the 'New York Times' did manage to extract a comment from a security guard at Power?s barren HQ. ?The show is over, the monkey is dead, and they?ve folded the tent,? he said.
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