APPLE IS LOOKING MIGHTY LONELY
SOME OF APPLE'S CLOSEST partners are looking to strike out on their own. Four Macintosh clonemakers--Power Computing, Motorola, UMAX, and DayStar Digital--recently met with IBM and Exponential Technology, which make the PowerPC chips for Macs, to discuss ways to beef up their products using technologies from Apple rivals. (Motorola also is a PowerPC provider.) Says CEO Steve Kahng of Power Computing, the No.1 clonemaker: ''We don't want to depend entirely on Apple anymore.''
The cloners, whose low-cost units have led to fast growth at Apple's expense, worry that financially beleaguered Apple can no longer be trusted to furnish them with new features customers want. How would they assert independence? Power Computing has already licensed Be Inc.'s Be operating system. The other cloners hint they may follow. (Apple recently bought NeXT Software, spurning a Be acquisition.) The chipmakers, for their part, say they're looking at licensing Intel's popular MMX multimedia technology, among others, which would go into the cloners' PowerPC-based machines.
Such moves could hurt Apple: Licensees may then be even more competitive with the Mac. Apple says it's unaware of the partners' plans but welcomes any of their innovations.
By Peter Burrows
Updated June 15, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.