Power Computing has pulled the plug on its business, marking the end of Apple's two-year foray into selling Macintosh clones.
A recorded message at Power's headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, stated: 'We are no longer taking any orders for any new systems.' US reports said Power sold all its possessions at auction last week, following an announcement that the company was seeking shareholder approval to liquidate.
At its height, Power Computing was Apple's biggest clone rival. In 1996, Power reported annual an revenue of $400 million and controlled 10 per cent of the Mac market. The company sold its core Mac clone assets to Apple late last year, but failed to reinvent itself as a more mainstream supplier.
As recently as July 1997, Power Computing was seen as a contender in the low-budget PC market, taking on the likes of Gateway 2000 and Dell, when it announced it would begin selling Intel-based PCs (PC Dealer, 8 July 1997).
Randy Guisto, analyst at IDC, said: 'Power was until recently Apple's biggest competitor in terms of high-end hardware. Apple succeeded in squeezing it out once it decided that it didn't like the market share it had. There are no longer any significant players left in the Mac clone market.'
Power's demise follows months of bitterness between Mac clonemakers and Apple.
Power was the most outspoken critic of new restrictions Apple CEO Steve Jobs put on licensing technology. In September 1997, Apple stated it would refuse to supply future operating system technology to licensees and changed the terms of the current licensing agreement.
Clone makers would have to buy future operating system 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 afterwards, 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 Mac clone 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.
Power was not the only victim of Apple's decision to can its Mac clone business. Motorola pulled out of the Mac clone market at a cost of $95 million at the end of last year. The company openly blamed the Jobs-inspired campaign, which meant that Motorola could not license the Mac OS 8.
Motorola claimed that negotiations had been under way with ousted chief executive Gilbert Amelio and that 'essential agreement' had been reached between the two companies.
But Amelio was removed and an interim management team under Jobs was put in place with a mission to shut out the clone makers.
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