STEVE JOBS: FIRST, LET'S KILL ALL THE CLONES
Steven Jobs is taking Apple Computer back to its roots. His latest step: reining in Apple's troubled licensing program for Macintosh clones. On Sept. 2, he announced a deal to buy up the Mac-related assets of Apple's No.1 cloner, Power Computing, for $100 million. Power Computing had surged to $400 million in annual revenues, but, says Jobs, 99% of its customers were plucked from Apple's base.
Even the cannibalization would have been O.K., Jobs maintains, if Apple had earned more from licensing. But the fees ''don't come close'' to covering engineering and marketing costs, he says. Without killing off the clone program, ''Apple would have a very hard time returning to profitability, and it would drag down the whole Mac ecosystem.''
Apple's move leaves remaining licensees, including Umax and Motorola, in the lurch. They likely won't receive rights to future Apple technology. ''They're not all happy,'' Jobs admits.
But Power Computing isn't looking back: On Sept. 8, the company is scheduled to announce its first Intel-based PCs.
By Andy Reinhardt
Updated Sept. 4, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.