Tuesday, September 02, 1997

Clone Home

Rumors have been flying fast and furious over the last few weeks as to the future of Power Computing. For those of you who don't know (or care) - PowerComputing is (has been) the #1 clone Macintosh manufacturer and the industry leader in Mac OS technology for the past two years. Reported price: $100 million.

It is reported that Apple will purchase Power's assets. Power will retain its name and logo, and continue operating through the end of the year.

Apple's clone market slogan from the beginning has been: "Expand the market, don't cannibalize it." Read: "Don't do anything better than us - like marketing, sales, delivering on-time, offering customers lifetime support, creating cool technology, etc. because it will 'cannibalize' OUR crappy sales efforts, lame products, late delivery, no support and general mis-management."

It looks like Steve Jobs got far more for the $150+ million that Bill Gates recently "invested" in Apple - he picked up on Bill's "if you can't beat them, buy them and beat them up" strategy.

As if taken from the Official Microsoft Play book - Apple is effectively "buying off" the competition. Loud competition. Real in-your-face competition. Competition with a REAL marketing department. Competition with a REAL management team.

Who'll lose? Us. PowerComputing is now going to be making Wintel machines (including notebooks). Just what the world needs - another hardware manufacturer. Hopefully, the folks at Power will be able to pull it off, and provide the same quality/feature to price ratio as they had in the Mac OS market. If so they'll succeed. If not, they'll fail.

What about the future of clones and cloning? Well, Motorola still remains the most viable cloner (as do the companies such as PowerTools which buy its OEM equipment from Motorola). You see, Moto is a licensor of Apple's OS, not a licensee. Not even Steve's buddy Bill Gates has enough money to buy THEM - and even if they did, Bill doesn't want another Justice Department proctology exam.

While other clone makers have voiced their continued support for the Mac OS clone market (i.e. UMAX, et al), it looks like Moto is going to be, by default, the big winner. It's not going to "bet the clone farm" on just the boring PowerPC boxes, but has recently inked a deal with Apple to build and market CHRP (Common Hardware Reference Platform) machines. These machines will run ANY OL' OS - not just the Mac OS. It seems that even THEY are hedging their bets...

No comments:

Web Analytics