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September, 1997 Archive


Tuesday, September 30th
Iomega Expands Jaz Line With Jaz 2
At last week's World PC Expo in Japan, Iomega announced details of the inevitable successor to its highly popular Jaz drive. Due for release in the fourth quarter of this year, the drive, aptly named "Jaz 2", and its new 2GB disks deliver twice the capacity and up to 40 percent higher performance than that of the original. In addition, Iomega has also provided full backward compatibility with the original 1GB Jaz disks, protecting the investment of over 1 million existing Jaz drive users. The minimum advertised price for the drive will be $649 for the external model and $549 for the internal model, with disks priced at $149 each when purchased in a 3-pak. Pricing for the original remains unchanged.

Analysts were also upbeat about the new product. "As more advanced audio/video creation applications move their way down to the consumer desktop, Jaz 2GB drives and disks provide the capacity necessary for professional users and general consumers to create, store and share their multimedia creations," said Lee M. Schugar, industry analyst, Technology Directions Program, at Dataquest in a statement. "With the Jaz 2GB product, Iomega continues to be at the forefront with good designs and functionality at a competitive price."

Apple To Distribute Developer Tools
In an effort to ensure the development community has resources needed to take advantage of "new development opportunities" for the Mac OS, Apple announced today that they will begin distributing development tools to members of the Apple Developer Program worldwide in November. The CD will contain Macintosh Programmer's Workshop, MacApp, SourceBug, MacsBug, Power Macintosh Debugger, and Virtual User, all of which have previously been sold through the Apple Developer catalog. The company also said that a select group of tools will be made available for free downloading on the Internet.

"Extending key Mac OS tools to developers and the public is just one more step that Apple is taking to ensure that anyone interested in developing for the Mac OS -- commercial or in-house developers, consultants, VARs, educators, or students -- has access to the tools they need to create innovative products for the Mac OS," said David Krathwohl, vice president, Apple Developer Relations said in a statement.

In addition, as part of a license agreement with Apple, Metrowerks jointly announced today that they will also be including the aforementioned tools in their CodeWarrior and Discover Programming products.

Microsoft Note Clarifies ActiveX Position
Following last night's news that Microsoft officially announced an end to development of their Active Platform technology, we received several pointers to a clarification from the company. One such note (which was sent to developers), in particular, basically says that the ActiveX technology is not dead, and is instead now a superset of Microsoft's DNA (Distributed interNet Applications architecture) strategy, which besides the Active Platform, also includes DHTML and scripting. Cornelius Willis, Microsoft's director of platform marketing, went on to say, "DNA is an effort to give them [customers] a roadmap to show them where we're investing and where we're building out our architecture, so they can invest likewise."

Apple Appoints New General Counsel
Nancy Heinen, former vice president, general counsel and secretary of the board of directors of NeXT Software, has been appointed the senior vice president and general counsel position at Apple, the company disclosed yesterday. Heinen will replace John Douglas, who announced his resignation from Apple yesterday. "Apple is entering a dynamic period of innovation in its products, marketing and distribution, and we need a strong general counsel capable of making things happen with precision and speed -- Nancy is that person," said Steve Jobs in a statement. "Many members of Apple's top team have worked with Nancy before, and she will hit the ground running."

Jobs Throws "Picnic" At Apple, Talks Advertising
News of a "beer-and-food" event thrown by Apple's Steve Jobs to celebrate the new TBWA Chiat/Day advertising campaign has been posted on Scripting News. Of worthy interest, Jobs said that reaction to the first "Think Different" television spot was 75% towards the positive side, while people who reacted negatively had hoped Apple would take a more competitively aggressive approach with Microsoft. The interim chief executive at Apple went on to said that the company's previous annual advertising spending of $100 million will not be altered either way.

Terry Morse's Myrmidon 2.0 Begins Shipping
Months after unveiling the upgrade through a series of public beta releases, Terry Morse Software announced the immediate availability of Myrmidon 2.0, the first major upgrade to their Web publishing software. Built around Morse's exclusive "Wizzy-Web" technology, Myrmidon converts documents built in a variety of applications to HTML by simply printing them. The upgrade is free for exisiting owners, while new users can download a limited use demo. Pricing for the full version is $99, although for a limited time it can be purchased for $69.

Marimba Completes Another Round Of Funding
Privately held startup Marimba Inc. said earlier this week that they have completed another round of financial funding. This latest cash infusion comes to the tune of $14.5 million from a group of investors, including Compaq Computer. Marimba says the capital will be used to continue development of their software products, which at the moment includes the heavily hyped Castanet Tuner.


Monday, September 29th
ActiveX Deactivated By Microsoft
Word out of the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference in San Diego is that ActiveX and the entire Active Platform technology, which Microsoft spent millions to promote against competing technologies (chief among those, OpenDoc), is officially dead. Evidence of this can be seen through the disappearance of the section on Microsoft's homepage that once held all ActiveX related content. Of most importance, however, is the effect this will have on the Wintel developer community. Active Platform was supposed to be the future of Microsoft and its developers, and the fact that they are abandoning this initiative is significant news for anyone interested in Internet development or who thinks that Apple is the only company that changes its strategic or technical direction.

Microsoft's official line is that the Windows DNA technology will be their "new framework for building distributed computing solutions that integrate the Web with client/server models of application development" going forward, replacing all aspects of the ActiveX technology.

Gossamer Machines Coming In November
Although they will beaten to the proverbial PowerPC 750 punch by clone vendor PowerTools (as we first reported last week, PowerTools will begin shipping their 750-based "X-Factor" series today), Apple isn't planning to rest on their current crop of machines, as according to a MacWEEK report, the company is readying three Power Mac G3 systems for launch in November. The "Gossamer" line, as it is code-named, will be targeted at the mid-range market, and should pack stirring performance through the help of the PowerPC 750 processor, a 512K backside cache (operating at a direct 2:1 ratio), and a most impressive 66-MHz system bus. The new line will also mark the introduction of "personality cards," specialized boards that offer a combination of audio and video input and output.

Apple Unleashes "Think Different" Campaign
"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things, they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Those were the words spoken by actor Richard Dreyfus in Apple's new "Think Different" advertising campaign, which was unveiled through two sixty-second spots during last night's showing of Pixar's "Toy Story" on ABC. A letter to Apple employees from interim chief executive Steve Jobs explains the reasoning behind the ads (which were designed to promote the Apple brand, not specific products), and at the same time mentions that a series of print ads and outdoor billboards will follow the TV ads.

Meanwhile, a QuickTime video of the commercial has been posted on Apple's Web site. Several other sites are mirroring the clip, including Todd Bangerter's QuickTime Archive at Harvard.

NetObjects Sets Eyes On Corporate Market
NetObjects Team Fusion is a newly introduced client/server solution from NetObjects that aims to address the demands of Web teams in the corporate market -- that of being able to centrally control site design and development while enabling content contributors to update their work. Based on the NetObjects TeamWeb architecture, Team Fusion operates through a Windows NT server and Windows 95/NT client. The Content Contributor, however, runs on any Java-enabled browser, meaning Macintosh users will have no troubling mingling with the PC-based server. Pricing for 1 server, concurrent connections for 2 Clients, and 20 Content Contribution browser clients begins at $995.

Adrenaline Sheds OpenDoc With Charts SE
The OpenDoc underpinnings of the latter half of Adrenaline Software's Numbers & Charts Live Objects tandem have been shed, and the company is now offering it as a stand-alone application. The PowerPC-native Adrenaline Charts SE, now available in a Preview Release 2 (the new preview adds over 100 bug fixes, some user interface enhancements, and requires QuickDraw 3D 1.5.3), features much of the same capabilities as its OpenDoc sibling, including extensive support for Mac OS technologies like QuickTime, QuickDraw 3D, Macintosh Drag & Drop, WorldScript and AppleGuide.

The $60 program is scheduled to ship in October and owners of the OpenDoc version will be entitled to a free copy. Once it's released, Charts SE will become a part of the regular N&C; package.

Amiga Rises From The Dead, Thanks To Gateway
Questions surrounding what Gateway 2000 would do with their purchase of the Amiga brand name last March have apparently been answered. According to a ZDNN report, Gateway will introduce a line of desktop machines and new version of the Amiga operating system within in the year. The models will run AmigaOS 4.0 and will be priced competitively with similar Wintel offerings. ZDNN speculates that the machines could include industry-standard video cards, universal serial bus (USB) ports, and the ability to run multiple operating systems.

Email Merge 1.4 Improves Speed, Reliability
Version 1.4 of Sig Software's Email Merge, a program used to create mailing of individual email messages, "bypasses AppleScript completely for speed and reliability, and performs merges up to 10 times faster than previous versions. On high-end Macs, over 1000 messages per minute can be queued for sending."


Friday, September 26th
PowerTools Set To Ship G3-Based Systems
Once an overlooked clone vendor and now left as one of the few remaining Mac OS licensees, PowerTools is set to garner a good amount of attention following news today that they have in stock, and are ready to ship, their new PowerPC 750-powered X-Factor series. The new PowerPC chip has been the center of great controversy in the Macintosh industry. Back when Power Computing and Motorola had machines built around the processor ready to ship, Apple claimed they would not certify machines based on this particular chip, due to what they labeled as potential incompatibilities between it and the Mac OS. When asked about this, PowerTools' CEO, Victor Wong, only said that "our current Mac OS license does not prevent us from shipping these systems." And ship they will, with the following configurations.

X-Factor 1: $3,999
PowerPC 750/250MHz
32MB RAM
2.1GB SCSI-3 HD
24x CD-ROM
512K "back side" L2 cache
4MB IMS video card
10 Base-T ethernet
Mac OS 8
X-Factor 2: $4,999
PowerPC 750/250MHz
80MB RAM
9.1GB Fast-Wide HD
24x CD-ROM
512K "back-side" L2 cache
4MB IMS video card
10 Base-T ethernet
Mac OS 8

"Concerns expressed by Apple in regarding Mac OS compatible computer makers cutting into their sales can be alleviated," Wong said in a statement, "because they are having difficulties supplying the very high demand for their 9600 and 8600 series computers. If they cannot provide sufficient units to the people that need them, the consumer will be forced to buy a Wintel machine if there is no other Mac OS alternative. This is exactly what we are all trying to prevent from happening."

New Ad Campaign Officially Announced
Confirming reports earlier this week, Apple today announced that it is launching its new brand advertising campaign with two 60 second television spots scheduled to air during the showing of Pixar's "Toy Story" on ABC this Sunday evening. The ads will center around the new Apple slogan "Think Different" and will mark the first collaboration between Apple and TBWA Chiat/Day in over a decade. "Apple has one of the best brands in the world. This campaign celebrates the soul of our brand -- which is the desire to change the world for the better," said Steve Jobs in a statement. "This ad is just the beginning of a major marketing campaign to let our customers know that Apple is coming back, and returning to those core values which made it great."

[Update:] We received the following report today from a Mac Observer reader who claims to have seen the new Apple commercials. Below is a brief segment of his impressions:

    "I just had an opportunity to watch the Apple Commercial to be run during tomorrow's broadcast of TOY STORY. And yes, the voice-over really is Steve Jobs. Even though it may not get as much attention as "1984," Chiat/Day has come up with a very powerful message."

Apple CEO Search Winding Down?
The ongoing search for a replacement chief executive at Apple Computer has been narrowed down to four leading candidates, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning. The list of potential replacements to Gil Amelio's full-time throne includes the following names, which, incidently, will likely be french to most Macintosh enthusiasts, as all candidates come from outside the Apple and Mac loop; Samuel Palmisano (PC chief at IBM), Ed Zander (president of a major unit at Sun Microsystems), David Dorfman (an executive vice president at SBC Communications), and Joe Costello (president and chief executive of Cadence Design Systems Inc.). The WSJ went on to say Apple may end up asking Steve Jobs to serve as the company's "non-executive chairman" once a full time chief executive is named. Jobs declined to comment, the paper said.

Adobe Shuffles Executive Titles
In an effort to streamline the decision making in the company, Adobe Systems announced today a shifting in their executive management lineup. Gone is the position of chief operating officer, and the man who held that title for the past nine years, David B. Pratt (Pratt will officially leave the company at the end of November). In addition to this change, Adobe's board of directors has created the Office of the Chairman of the Board. This new position will be shared by John E. Warnock and Charles M. Geschke, who will both have the title of Chairman of the Board, in recognition of their joint leadership of Adobe since its founding.

Unreal, Shadow Warrior To Be Completed By Westlake
Next Generation Online reported this week that Westlake Technologies, a new Macintosh game development house consisting of former employees from the now defunct Lion Entertainment, will complete the Mac ports of Unreal and Shadow Warrior that were being developed by Lion. Beyond the these two games, NG says that the company is currently in negotiations for other big name projects, although specifics were not mentioned.


Thursday, September 25th
Intel To Acquire Dayna Communications
In an effort to expand their networking offerings into the small-business networking world, Intel Corporation announced yesterday it has agreed to acquire Dayna Communications Inc., a manufacturer of networking products based in Salt Lake City. Intel says that acquisition will be a key element in their budding small-business networking strategy, as this is one of the areas where Dayna has been a standout leader. "Small businesses are discovering how high-speed networking can significantly aid productivity and the bottomline," said Frank Gill, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Internet and Communications Group. "With the addition of Dayna's products and staff, Intel can better help these customers take advantage of connecting PCs to the Internet using Fast Ethernet technology."

The acquisition, which is subject to approval from Dayna shareholders, is expected to be closed in November, at which point Dayna will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel and will continue to operate in Salt Lake City as part of Intel's Network Products Division. The company's current PC and Macintosh line of products will continue to be sold under the Dayna name, at least until the first half of 1998 when Intel plans to launch new products for small businesses under the Intel brand name.

FTC Launches Investigation On Intel
Intel revealed today that the Federal Trade Commission has begun an investigation into the company's "business practices." This investigation, the second such this decade, is believed to have been sparked by Intel's ongoing legal feud with Digital Equipment in addition to the "Intel Inside" marketing campaign that gives PC manufacturers significant cuts on advertising costs in exchange for their use of Intel's line of processors. Intel spokesman Chuck Molly was more general when asked about the investigation, however. He told Reuters "the FTC was investigating whether Intel was acting to monopolize, attempt to monopolize, or otherwise restrict price or non-price competition in the development or sale of microprocessors or other computer components or related intellectual property."

Meanwhile, late today, Digital Equipment disclosed that they have received a subpoena in connection the FTC's investigation into Intel. "Digital has received a subpoena and a civil investigation demand issued by the Federal Trade Commission," Digital spokesman Dan Kaferle told Reuters. "These documents appear to relate to an FTC investigation into Intel Corp. Digital's policy is to cooperate with government agencies and their requests for information,"' he said.

"Spam King" Loses His Internet Connection
Your email inbox might be getting a little smaller, especially if you've been hit with promotional material by a company called Cyber Promotions. The self-proclaimed "spam king", Sanford Wallace, told the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday that his infamous company, Dresher, Pennsylvania-based Cyber Promotions Inc., has lost its connection to the Internet. Wallace says that Apex Global Internet Services Inc., or Agis, who has been providing his firm with access over the past year, terminated his account and those of several other bulk e-mail companies on September 17.

Wallace told the Inquirer that he filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit Monday against Agis in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. A hearing for the matter is scheduled for this afternoon where a judge is likely to hear Wallace request an order for Agis to reconnect his company's Internet service.

$16 Billion Smart Card Industry By Year 2005?
Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealey often exudes tremendous excitement over the marriage of Java and so-called "smart cards", and judging from a recent prediction from researchers Killen and Associates, there's good reason for this. Killen predicts that the smart card industry will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 59 percent next year, taking the market from $1.2 billion in 1996 to $7.6 billion in 2000. When all is said and done, Killen believes that the market will reach $16 billion by the year 2005. A Newsbytes story has more.

digital.forest Offering Innovative Service
Digital.forest, a Seattle, Washington-based Macintosh Internet provider, said yesterday that they have begun providing their co-location customers with an innovative new feature: AppleTalk tunneling. By encapsulating AppleTalk packets inside of IP packets, digital.forest is able to route AppleTalk over the Internet through IP, allowing users to mount remote Web servers and use them as if they were local disks on a network. The only caveat to using the service is the fact that customers need to have a dedicated Internet connection, and a router that supports either AURP or Cayman-style tunnels.

Power Computing's Inventory Continues To Dwindle
News of Power Computing's exhausted supply of PowerBase machines earlier this week appears to be only the tip of the iceberg, as several readers have noted that both the PowerCenter Pro 180 and 210 are no longer available, leaving the 240 as the only variation left in the popular line. While there are no specific indicators on how long Power's remaining inventory will last, one would have to reasonably assume that machines will be gone long before Power's last day as a Mac OS provider (December 31st).

Global Village's "Ultimate Internet Upgrade" Bundle
Global Village announced earlier this week what they label as the "ultimate Internet upgrade" promotional bundle; TelePort 56 PLUS Mac OS 8. The $189 bundle combines the company's TelePort 56 modem (using x2 or K56flex technology) along with a copy of Mac OS 8. TelePort 56 PLUS Mac OS 8 is available at most retail stores and catalog outlets in the United States and Canada.

Adjust Folder Settings With Finder View Settings
Alessandro Levi Montalcini's Finder View Settings 1.0 is a shareware utility that makes it easier to manage folder-specific view settings of Mac OS 8. Instead of adjusting settings for each individual folder, FVS allows users to globally override their preferences, making Mac OS 8 behave more like Mac OS 7.X.


Wednesday, September 24th
Former Apple Exec Named To Be Board
Be, Inc. announced last night that it has named former Apple executive, Heidi Roizen, to its board of directors. Roizen's expertise in the software industry will undoubtedly be a coup for fledgling Be, who this past July unveiled the first public version of the highly vaunted BeOS. "I, and the rest of the Be team, are delighted to welcome Heidi to our Board," said Jean-Louis Gassee, president and CEO of Be. "Her broad software industry background will help us chart our future course and her excellent standing with the ISV community will help us foster and build a growing number of relationships with BeOS developers."

"I fundamentally believe that the computer industry is about to experience rapid proliferation into whole new categories of usage," said Roizen. "Be is pioneering the concept that 'one platform fits all' is not necessarily the most effective strategy for new classes of applications. I think that Be is well positioned to be the OS provider of choice for some of these categories, and I'm looking forward to helping them identify, define, and deliver compelling solutions to these markets in concert with a vibrant, entrepreneurial developer community."

Roizen, who is often credited as one of the most influential females in the computing industry, was last seen in the dubious role as Apple's Vice President of World Wide Developer Relations were she was responsible for revitalizing Apple's developer relations. Before that she spent time as chief executive of T/Maker Company, a successful software company known for their word processing, desktop publishing, and multimedia titles.

Apple Getting Back Into Television
Various Macintosh Web sites (MacInTouch, MacCentral, and others) are reporting today that Apple will usher in a new nationwide television advertising campaign during this Sunday's national showing of Pixar's "Toy Story" on ABC. While the subject nature of the ad spot remains a mystery, the first product from the rekindled relationship between Apple and its advertising agency, TBWA Chiat/Day, should prove to be interesting. (Curiously, the fact that Apple is doing this spot is intriguing, as Apple's interim chief executive Steve Jobs made it quite clear during May's WWDC that he would have preferred to see Apple stay away from TV for the remainder of the year.)

Ellison Confirms Existence Of Apple NC
Speaking at an industry conference in Los Angeles, newly appointed Apple board member Larry Ellison confirmed that the company is working on a Network Computer (NC) that will run the current Macintosh operating system. Ellison, whose Oracle has been one of the stalwarts of the NC concept, also said that the recent appointment of Steve Jobs (who, incidently, is also widely known to be his best friend) as interim CEO at Apple is a boost for the company. "With Steve Jobs back at the helm at Apple, you'll see more innovation in 10 weeks than you would in 10 years without Steve," he said.

ClearWay Offering FireSite Discount For AISS Owners
ClearWay Technologies' FireSite virtual domain system and Web site acceleration software is being offered to owners of the Apple Internet Server Solution (AISS) at half price from now until the end of October. Interested parties are encouraged by ClearWay to register the 30-day demo to "lock in" the special discounted price.

FireSite Standard Edition ($249 through this offer) accelerates up to 50MB of HTML, GIF and JPEG files; the Multimedia Edition ($599 through this offer) accelerates an unlimited amount of Web data, including advanced media formats such as PDF, Shockwave, Flash, popular audio and video formats, and downloadable SIT, HQX, and ZIP files.

New BeOS Macintosh Emulator In The Works
Be, Inc.'s hopes of having a Mac OS compatibility environment for the BeOS were thought to have been dashed when fredlabs was forced to pull the plug on their VirtualMac project. Now, news has been revolving about a new BeOS Macintosh emulator in the early stages of development. While much remains unknown, Thijs Stalenhoef's Be Leading Edge homepage is in close contact with the developers, and screenshots showing the program running have surfaced, including one in particular that sports Adobe Photoshop. (screenshots: screen1, screen2)

Sun's McNealey Puts Warning Out To Microsoft
In an interview with CNBC's technology correspondent Bruce Francis, Sun Microsystems' chairman and chief executive Scott McNealey warned Microsoft that his company could yank their Java license if it fails to comply with the terms of their 1996 license agreement. The bulk of this ongoing scrutiny is apparently surrounding Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 and its Java implementation, which a Sun spokesperson told Reuters would be the subject of a "look" once the software is released next week.

CNET Hopes Its Latest Web Venture "Snaps"
After announcing it earlier this summer, CNET formally took the wraps off of its newest service, Snap! Online. By combining the resources of top Web publishers like CNN, ESPN, MSNBC, Discovery Online, and Time Warner's Thrive, Snap! Online hopes to become the one stop shop for users looking to get their Internet content in one convenient package. The new site also features a browsable directory of Web sites, chat rooms, Internet events, and local weather.

IBM's Deep Blue Waives Goodbye To Chess
IBM's fabled supercomputer, Deep Blue, which gained notoriety earlier this year by handily beating world chess champion Gary Kasparov called it quits this week. Instead of focusing on what chess masters to tackle next, IBM will retreat Deep Blue to the more usual super computing duties of crunching numbers and data, and will focus on covering new areas such as finance, investment and medicine.


Tuesday, September 23rd
Biting DataQuest Report Condemns Apple
A biting DataQuest report predicts that Apple's decision to bring an end to licensing will have a detrimental effect on the company. "Dataquest believes this action raises the risk factors for participating in the Mac market to new highs and will have serious detrimental effects on Apple," two Dataquest analysts said in the report. "Our conclusion is that Apple has started down a path that will lead to its demise as a serious player in the PC market." Incidently, it was DataQuest who said last spring that the buying season this fall would be a "fall windfall" for Apple and its licensees. Ironically, sources tell us that this positive report has been mentioned in nearly all Apple memos over the past few weeks, leading some to speculate that this upcoming fall season is one Apple is betting heavily on.

Scriptlets To Debut In Microsoft's IE 4.0
Microsoft, in an un-Microsoft way, quietly announced a new Web authoring initiative earlier this month. Termed "Scriptlets", the new technology will grant Web authors the ability to create reusable Web objects with Dynamic HTML. In Microsoft's words, "A scriptlet is a Web page, authored with HTML and script, that content providers can use as a component in their Web applications. Scriptlets bring the benefits of object-based technology to HTML and script, offering content providers the convenience of reuse and encapsulation." Support for scriptlets will be incorporated into the final versions of Internet Explorer 4.0 across all of Microsoft's supported platforms.

Rhine Follows In De Luca's Footsteps
On the heels of Guerrino De Luca's departure last week, news has surfaced that Apple's vice president of channel and sales development, Greg Rhine, has tendered his resignation as well. No immediate replacement was named for Rhine, but Computer Reseller News reports that Mitch Mandich, a former NeXT executive and now vice president of the Americas at Apple, will oversee the channel group's operations, at least for the time being.

Rhine's resignation precedes an expected announcement on October 1st from Apple that will mark significant changes to the way they sell systems. Reports indicate that a Web site will be unveiled to allow for the direct purchasing of low-end systems from Apple. Complementary to this or not, sources at Apple tell The Mac Observer that those who buy more than $2 million worth of equipment each year will be able to purchase direct from Apple.

IBM On Its Way To The PDA Arena With "WorkPad"
IBM is planning to enter the personal digital assistant market with a relabeled version of 3Com's PalmPilot, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday morning. 3Com will handle the manufacturing duties of what will be called the "WorkPad", and will replace the standard gray exterior of the PalmPilot with a jet black look similar to that of IBM's Aptiva line. The WorkPad will sell for $399, although the WSJ failed to give a release date for the device.

Rockwell Introduces Processor Designed To Run Java
Rockwell Avionics & Communications's new JEM1 processor is the first in their family of low-cost, low-powered embedded microprocessors designed explicitly to run Java code. The microprocessor was developed by Avionics & Communication's Advanced Technology Center division, who is now exploring its use in avionics applications. JEM1 will also likely become an attractive heart for companies working on Java-oriented Network Computers (NCs).

Doubt Cast On Future Of UMAX' UmaxPower 6000 Pro
Following our story yesterday regarding UMAX's CHRP-based UmaxPower 6000 Pro, we received a message from a UMAX Taiwan employee which indicates that our news may have been a bit premature. As you can see below, the CHRP machine from UMAX is still pending license certification approval from Apple, thus the fate of the machine is still undetermined.

    "Umax Power 6000 Pro is our model name for CHRP. I am sorry this project is pending due to Apple's attitude toward certification. Anyway, we are still negotiating with Apple for any kind of possibility, and I will keep contacting you if there is any result."

A Portable PowerPC Linux Machine
The latest version of Linux for PowerPC (note: this is a different UNIX incarnation than the more popular MkLinux), is now compatible with the PowerBook 3400. Although this version is crippled in some ways -- the media bay, PC cards, and power management remain unsupported -- it does provide native support for the video chip in the kernel and Xserver. A readme file provides more in-depth technical information.

Choice Of Power Computing Machines Dwindles
As noted on Jeff Keller's PowerWatch homepage, it seems as though Power Computing has exhausted their remaining supply of PowerBase machines, as there is no sign of the low-end line in their online storefront.


Monday, September 22nd
Apple Names New Public Relations Agency
Following the appointment of TBWA Chiat/Day as their advertising agency last month, Apple Computer completed their marketing communications makeover earlier today by naming Niehaus Ryan Group, Inc. as its public relations agency. The Silicon Valley-based PR firm will take over and becoming Apple's public relations agency of record for corporate and product public relations beginning immediately. "We are very pleased to complete our new team with the addition of NRG," said Steve Jobs, Apple's interim CEO. "They are exactly the kind of strategic, entrepreneurial agency we need right now."

"We believe that Apple's new direction will once again surprise the industry," said NRG president Ed Niehaus. "Apple is one of the top brands in the world, and the company is now poised to once again make its mark."

Vertegri Research Makes It Official
As outlined in a limited-run press release (which can be seen on Eric Belsley's Macintosh Resource Page), Vertegri Research has officially announced their exit from the Macintosh clone market. Vertegri states that the recent decision by Apple to limit cloning has lead to financial problems (specifically, their venture capital has apparently been pulled). The company did however address an area of concern -- unhappy customers who have received unsatisfactory service from the company. For those in this group, take note; despite a reduced staff and limited resources, Vertegri claims that it is working to fill all outstanding orders and process refunds for customers who wish to cancel their order or return a machine.

Amelio Believes Jobs Was Behind Demise
In a San Francisco Examiner report yesterday, former Apple chief executive, Gil Amelio, said he now suspects that Steve Jobs played a role in his demise at the company. This report firmly recants the beliefs of Amelio, who, just one month ago, felt that Jobs had nothing to do with the board's decision to let him go. "Now, what I'm saying is if Steve had absolutely nothing to do with it, he would go on the record in the press and say that, and he would acknowledge my real contributions to the company in getting things fixed. And since he hasn't done either, it makes me suspicious," Amelio told the Examiner. Jobs, through his spokesperson, declined to comment, the report said.

UMAX Receives License For CHRP System?
According to a reader, UMAX was displaying a CHRP prototype at the French Apple Expo in Paris last Wednesday. The machine is said to have passed Apple's license certification approval process, and it is supposedly scheduled to hit the United States before the end of the year. Dubbed the UmaxPower 6000 Pro, the machine has the following configuration (AbsoluteMac has acquired the machine's impressive MacBench scores):

PowerPC 750/300MHz 4.3 GB Hard Disk
66MHz System Bus UltraWide SCSI/7200RPM
1MB Backside Cache 24x CD-ROM Drive
96MB of RAM 8MB of VRAM

Microsoft Trio Leads Technology's 100 Richest People
Microsoft's trio of billionaires, whose net worth happens to total $61.64 billion, leads this year's list of the Top 100 Richest People in the technology business as compiled by Forbes magazine. Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Ballmer take the top three spots, while newly appointed Apple board member, Larry Ellison, is ranked fourth. Other notables include Michael Dell at 6, Ted Waitt at 8, Steve Jobs at 17, Scott McNealey at 22, Andy Grove at 26.

Apple's Mighty Cat Waiting On The Prowl
A speed bumped PowerBook 2400 from Apple, code-named "Mighty Cat," is expected to utilize a processor in the 200MHz to 240MHz range, O'Grady's PowerPage reported today. O'Grady says that the speed bump is slated to ship in late October or early November, the latter of which could mean a release in conjunction with the PowerBook 3500.

Contextual Menus Without Any Hands
Tools & Toys Software's "Look Mom, No Hands!" allows the activation of contextual menus via a method that's similar to the that of the implementation in Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. In other words, users using the extension will no longer need to control-click to activate contextual menus; they merely need to click and hold.


Friday, September 19th
Strong Mac Sales Fuel Adobe Results
Adobe Systems' profits for the fiscal third quarter rose 55 percent, in large part because of the strong sales of software for the Macintosh, the company said earlier today. "We continue to see strength in the Windows application growth, but what was surprising was a rebound in the Mac," said John Warnock, Adobe chairman and chief executive. "It's all subjective, but I think Steve Jobs' re-engagement at Apple gave Mac users hope." Profits for the quarter came in at $41 million, compared with $26.4 million in the year ago period. However, when calculating in the one-time gains from the sale of investments in Netscape, Adobe's profits swelled to $53.4 million, or 72 cents a share. This easily beat Wall Street's estimate, which was pegged at 45 cents a share.

Meanwhile, in a joint announcement, Adobe said that its board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to 15 million shares of common stock over the next two years. Adobe will buy back the stock using several methods, some of which include; direct purchases, open market purchases, the use of put and call options, and accelerated stock repurchase programs.

Apple Readying NCs For Launch Next Year
Apple is in the midst of readying its Network Computer (NC) strategy for unveiling at January's Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The plan will initially center around a Mac OS-based NC client and Rhapsody-based server, MacWEEK said yesterday. The NCs will reportedly be based on a slimmed-down version of the upcoming Gossamer logic board and will use a 266-MHz or faster version of the PowerPC 750 processor. And while much of the industry's talk about NCs has centered around them being Java devices, Apple will use Mac OS 8 as the software basis for their clients. By doing this, Apple not only allows the current base of applications to remain open for NC customers, but it also should give developers more incentives to develop for the Mac platform. On the server side, it is expected that Apple will use a combination of Rhapsody's strong network capabilities and Fast Ethernet as the network computer repository.

Rhapsody Development Team To Usher In DR Next Week
To coincide with the eagerly anticipated shipping of Rhapsody Developer Release 1 next Wednesday, September 24th, members of the operating system's development team will be on hand at the Apple campus to present one of the first public overviews of the "officially released" DR. The event will be a part of the monthly BANG! (Bay Area NeXT Group) meeting, and will feature the key presentation, a Q&A; session, and dinner afterwards. Further details are available from the BANG! information sheet.

Radius Cuts Prices On Thunder Series
Radius announced earlier this week immediate price reductions by up to as much as 30 percent on its award-winning Thunder series of graphics cards. The cards combine 2D and or 2D/3D image processing with support for resolutions up to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and 30-bit color. The price cuts are as follows:


Current New
Thunder Power 30/1600 $599 $499
Thunder Power 30/1920 $899 $699
Thunder 3D $2,199 $1,699
Thunder TX 1152 $1,099 $999


Thursday, September 18th
Power Loses Its Marketing Power Cord
In a doubly unexpected blow to the Macintosh world, The Mac Observer learned last evening that Power Computing's Vice President of Marketing, Mike Rosenfelt, has decided to leave company. Rosenfelt was responsible for the innovative Power Computing advertising campaigns that started the revitalization of the Mac world more than two years ago, including: "Let's Kick Intel's Ass!," "Fight Back For The Mac!," "You Can Take My Mac When You Pry My Cold Dead Fingers From My Mouse," and more recently the "Beat The Machine" campaign that is currently running in a variety of print magazines. Following on the heels of Guerrino De Luca's resignation from Apple earlier yesterday, the Mac community surely has lost two of its brightest stars in one day.

It is unknown why Rosenfelt left Power, but we at The Mac Observer wish him the very best. His contributions to the spirit of the Mac world have been immeasurable. We hope that his next position will find him still fighting back for the Mac. (And for those of you who happened to miss it; Bryan Chaffin had the chance to sit down with Rosenfelt last month for an in-depth interview.)

Power Slashes Prices Again, Adds Free RAM
Continuing their recent price cutting maneuvers, Power Computing announced yesterday significant price reductions and offers of free memory upgrades on many of its high-end to mid-range Mac OS machines. Prices have dropped by as much as $400 on select PowerTower Pro and PowerCenter Pro models, while customers purchasing any one of the PowerTower Pro configurations will receive a free upgrade to 128MB of RAM.

"Today's pricing and RAM announcements are our way of saying thank you to all Mac OS users who have supported Power Computing and the Mac OS platform over the past two years," said Stephen Kahng, Chairman and CEO of Power Computing. "Today's announcement represents a singular opportunity to own one of these award-winning systems at the best price values ever -- before they are all gone." Below is Power's new pricing sheet:



































































































































































PowerTower Pro 250 Core        $2,699.00
PowerTower Pro 250 Starter     $3,299.00
PowerTower Pro 225 Core        $2,199.00
PowerTower Pro 225 Starter     $2,799.00
 PowerCenter Pro 210 Starter    $1,999.00 
PowerCenter Pro 240 Starter    $2,299.00

Macworld And MacTech To Honor New Area
The annual Eddies ceremony at Macworld Expo in San Francisco will now feature a special section devoted toward the Macintosh development community. Macworld and MacTech will jointly present a set of four awards for the best Mac developer tools. Winners will be chosen by MacTech editors and contributors based upon such factors as innovation, design, versatility, contributions within the industry's current standards, and impact upon the developer community. Submissions should be sent via email with product name and description, contact information, including URL to awards@mactech.com by November 1, 1997.

Macworld Expo On The Move To The Big Apple
The 13-year tradition of having the summer Macworld Expo in Boston, Massachusetts will come to an end next summer, the Boston Globe reported this morning. The event will now be hosted in New York City (specifically, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center), starting with the July 1998 show. The decision to move to New York is said to be primarily because of Apple's new marketing focus on the creative arts genre. An official announcement from the organizer (IDG Expo Management Co.) is expected sometime today.

Global Village Providing 56k Modems For 6500
Global Village will be providing the 56k modem in Apple's recently revamped Power Mac 6500 machine, the company said yesterday. The modem is based on the K56flex technology from Rockwell. "Global Village is a well-respected modem vendor and we are pleased to provide our customers with high-quality communications products as part of our new high-performance PowerMac 6500 product family," said Phil Schiller, vice president, hardware marketing, Apple Computer.

Win With Macromedia's "Dream Drawing" Sweepstakes
Macromedia is requesting feedback from end-users for the development of a new Web development tool. In return, they are offering chances to win one of eight Casio QV-10A digital cameras, up to $1,000 worth of Macromedia product or the Grand Prize MPEG Camera from Hitachi. Official information can be found on Macromedia's "Dream Drawing" homepage.

New Myrmidon 2.0 Beta Available
The latest beta (2.0b8) of Terry Moorse Software's Myrmidon 2.0 "fixes several bugs and add a few new features." Moorse expects this to be the final beta version released before the product's commercial release. Comments about the beta should be forwarded to tmorse@terrymorse.com.

Our story regarding the resignation of Power Computing's Mike Rosenfelt was taken from yesterday's news and placed at the top of today's update to ensure full viewing.


Wednesday, September 17th
Motorola Confirms Willingness To Pay
The rumors surrounding Motorola's G3-based Mac OS laptop had the company ready to ship as soon as an agreement with Apple had been reached on licensing. A source close to Motorola has confirmed with The Mac Observer that they had agreed to pay Apple (under the tentative Amelio agreement) as much as 12 times the original System 7.X licensing fees for the right to sell a Mac OS compatible laptop before Apple pulled the plug on licensing. This would have made the licensing fees for each laptop approximately $600 (as the previous agreement, more or less, pinned the software license at $50). This revelation directly contradicts the repeated statements from both Fred Anderson and the newly anointed "CEO," Steve Jobs, that said the clone vendors repeatedly rejected Apple's offer to raise the licensing fees in exchange for notebook design rights.

In related news, Apple's own G3-based PowerBook 3500, a speed bumped PowerBook 3400, code-named "Kanga," is reportedly on track to ship late next month. Preliminary specifications of the machine, which is expected to be used as a holdover to Apple's truly next-generation "Wall Street" laptop design, are available today from O'Grady's PowerPage.

De Luca Makes Departure From Cupertino
One of the few executives remaining in Cupertino from the Gil Amelio regime called it quits today. Apple's well respected and generally well liked Vice President of Marketing, Guerrino De Luca, announced his resignation from the company today following the drastic changes that have taken place over the past month. "This is a personal decision which does not reflect my assessment of the Company's prospects," said De Luca, in a statement. "We are seeing a lot of changes at Apple, and I'm confident that Apple will shine again." De Luca, who was brought in under the Amelio tenure last February in an effort to turn the company's public perception around, previously spent time as president of Claris, Apple's software subsidiary.

Maker Of Mac OS "Portable" Shuts Its Doors
According to published reports on a variety of Macintosh Web sites today, it appears as if the army of Mac OS licensees have lost yet another soldier. Reports indicate that Canadian-based Vertegri Research, developers of the imediaEngine V5, the first and only "portable" Mac OS clone, has shut its doors. Although the company has yet to make any sort of official announcement regarding this matter, speculation is that a combination of financial and licensing issues brought about their demise.

PowerTools Forms Partnership With Systematics
PowerTools announced today that they are teaming up with Systematics to provide the German Macintosh market with PowerTools Mac OS machines. "We feel that Systematics has a great reputation and is one of the oldest provider of Macintosh based technologies in the German market." said Victor Wong, CEO of PowerTools. "We are very pleased be able to work with a company of this caliber," Wong concluded. Systematics will be offering both the infiniti T2 and the new X-Factor series from PowerTools, as well as soon to be announced systems aimed at several vertical markets.

Apollo Technologies' OrbitPak: The Next Generation
Apollo Technologies has announced the followup to their successful OpenDoc software package, OrbitPak. Orders for the $249 OrbitPak2, as it will be aptly named, are now being taken on the Apollo homepage, and owners of the original version will be able to receive the updated package for a discounted price of $99. Highlights of OrbitPak2, which is scheduled to ship on September 25th, include Adrenaline Numbers & Charts, Eastgate's Web Squirrel, The MacChannel, and more.

Memo Answers Questions Regarding Jobs' Appointment
An internal Apple memo obtained by Ric Ford's MacInTouch Web site states that , among other things, "Steve [Jobs] is not Chairman of the board and there is no Chairman at the present time." The memo goes on to say that the position will filled by the board of directors once a permanent chief executive is put in place.


Tuesday, September 16th
Steve Jobs Named Interim CEO At Apple
This morning, Apple Computer announced that board member Steve Jobs has been granted the title that appropriately fits his rank of power at the company; interim CEO. The two-day unscheduled board meeting that took place over the course of last Tuesday and Wednesday was where the newly created board of directors decided to name Jobs the interim chief executive officer of the company. Jobs will hold this position until a new CEO is named, which, according to this morning's company press release, is expected to happen before the end of the year.

Exponential Slaps Apple With Lawsuit
According to a NEWS.COM report, Exponential, the now-defunct chip maker who once basked in the spotlight of the Macintosh industry with their high-performance PowerPC-compatible X704 processor, has filed a $500 million lawsuit against former ally Apple, claiming a breach of supply contract. The suit, which was filed in the Santa Clara County Superior Court in California, seeks compensatory damages from Apple under nine causes of actions.

The one-time Apple funded venture closed its door last May following news from Apple that they would not use the X704 processor in any of their machines, due to what Apple claimed to be performance issues. Subsequently, it was learned by The Mac Observer that the failure of Apple to provide Exponential with the necessary Mac ROM chips for use with machines from the Mac OS clone vendors was an equally detrimental event for the company.

Surprise! A Windows Upgrade Is Delayed
Its predecessor suffered uncountable delays, so it's only fitting that Microsoft's Windows 98, the first true upgrade to the consumer version of the Windows operating system since August 1995, succumb to yet another postponement to its release date. This time, the Redmond, Washington-based software giant announced that Windows 98 is now expected to be launched around June of next year. This follows last November's admission from the company that they would miss the 1997 year all together with what was then being dubbed as Windows 97.

Although not announced, this delay would suggest that the update to Microsoft's Windows NT operating system, Windows NT 5.0, has fallen off pace as well (it is, and has always been, scheduled to arrive 90 days after Windows 97/98). If true, this suddenly gives Apple the opportunity to publicly unveil their two scheduled Rhapsody releases (Premiere and Unified) without any significant interference from Microsoft, something which is the complete reversal from the events of August 1995 in which Microsoft had the open airwaves to gloat about Windows 95.

Shaman Announces New Pricing Structure
Shaman Corporation, makers of the software updating program Shaman Update Server, has announced a new pricing structure. Users can now purchase licenses in bundles, resulting in a significant discount for corporations. (Shaman also has a Personal Edition of the Shaman Update Server available for small office/home users for $69.) The new pricing on the full server is as follows:


New Old
Shaman Update Server 10 Pack $595 $1,095
Shaman Update Server 25 Pack $695 $1,845
Shaman Update Server 50 Pack $895 $3,095
Shaman Update Server 100 Pack $1,295 $5,595

Mailing List Administrator Shuts Down semper.fi
Semper.fi, a mailing list that was started by Apple's Guy Kawasaki in hopes of providing a round table for developers to discuss issues involving the Macintosh world, has been shut down. A letter from the mailing list's former moderator, Chuq Von Rospach, states that the previous organizational implementation of the list was severely "broken" (anyone who spent time subscribed to the list knows of the "noise to sound" problems), and because of this, "semper.fi will remain on hiatus indefinitely until either an appropriate moderator is found or the list is restructured in such a way that we feel it's again viable."

Latest Emulator From Insignia Aimed At Gamers
Insignia Solutions, long known for their work on the SoftWindows Windows emulator, is extending their product line and reaching out to Macintosh gamers who are envious of the plethora of games available on the PC platform. The company's recently released RealPC is a $79 emulator that goes beyond the SoftWindows product by emulating the entire design of a PC, in much the same way Connectix' Virtual PC does. RealPC ships with a free version of MS-DOS 6.22 (users wishing to install other operating systems can) in addition to The Best of Action Games CD, a collection of 15 games including Dark Forces, Descent, and Doom.

Apple Will Be Absent From Fall COMDEX
MacWEEK is reporting that Apple has decided to stay away from the strip this year and skip the industry's annual fall Comdex show in Las Vegas. An Apple spokeswoman says the decision to pull out of the business-oriented event is solely because of the company's renewed focus on the education and content creation markets. This withdrawal from one of the biggest industry events, however, seems much more like a cost cutting move than anything else.


Monday, September 15th
Where Would We Be With Gil Amelio?
The informal license agreements that were set in place with the clone vendors in late June (which allowed them full access to Mac OS 8, notebooks designs, and CHRP) would have been finalized if Gil Amelio still had his reign at Apple Computer, the good Dr. told a radio talk show this past Saturday. The former president and chief executive at Apple talked candidly for two hours with Tom King's nationally broadcasted CompuTalk show, and he made his opinion about the licensing moves the company is now taking no secret. "On the surface of it, it certainly doesn't look like it's going in the right direction," Amelio said. The former chief, who was ousted from his post in mid-July following 18 months on the job, reaffirmed many times that he was a strong proponent of forwarding Apple's relationship with the clones, and though there were some problems associated with the old plan, he didn't want to make drastic changes. "Look, we crossed the rubicon, we're committed and we're going to go forward on this thing," Amelio said. "We very much were supportive of that idea," Amelio added.

Even more interesting is the admission from Amelio that it was his own personal negotiating with Microsoft's Bill Gates that eventually led to the Apple, Microsoft partnership that was announced by Steve Jobs in early August. Amelio stated that he and Gates were finalizing the terms of the deal on the weekend that Edgar Woolard informed him of the board's decision to let him go. But before his departure, he urged the board to let Jobs continue negotiations with Microsoft, and while Apple's current de facto leader did bang out a deal, Amelio admonished that the exact terms weren't what he had in mind. For one, he would have rather not seen Internet Explorer become the default browser on the Mac OS.

The full interview with Amelio is available from CompuTalk's homepage on AudioNet (some variation of RealAudio is required), but please be sure to note that Saturday's show will only be archived until this weekend's show. Amelio's two-hour marathon begins around the 33 minute mark, for those who may want to skip past the initial conversations and calls.

Java Request Nothing But A Game, Sun Says
Officials at Sun Microsystems claim a letter from Intel, Microsoft, Digital Equipment, and Compaq requesting that they turn over their hold on the Java development language to an international standards body is nothing but a public relations game. As you'll recall, the four previously mentioned companies requested last week that Sun relinquish all rights to the Java environment and submit it to the International Standards Organization (ISO). Sun asserts that this solicitation was merely an attempt to persuade the ISO, which, coincidently, meets in Ottawa this week. However, Sun does maintain that it is their intention to resubmit Java to the ISO (an attempt in early July failed), although it is unclear what rights they will almost undoubtedly request.

WebTV Press Event To Showcase "New Technology"
WebTV Networks, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft, is hosting a press conference tomorrow to unveil "new technology", Reuters reported today. The conference is believed to be centered around an entirely new and upgraded access box that incorporates a television tuner card, meaning WebTV customers will be able to simultaneously watch TV while navigating the Internet. In addition to this capability, the successor to the original WebTV access device will also meld chat software, a 56K modem, and a 167-MHz processor. Pricing of the device, despite its new feature, is not expected to change from its current retail price of $300.

Intuit's Quicken 98 Set To Ship On October 23rd
Intuit announced the 1998 versions of its Quicken financial software packages today, and as with prior versions of the software, Internet integration continues to be the key highlight of interest. Access to the Web is said to be seamlessly synthesized throughout the program (via Microsoft's Internet Explorer), providing improved online banking and financial news and research. The entire family of products, which now includes Quicken Basic 98, Quicken Deluxe 98, Quicken Home & Business 98, and Quicken Suite 98, is expected to be available in stores on October 23rd.

Jobs Reportedly Will Keynote Seybold Conference
In addition to Adobe's John Warnock and Microsoft's Bill Gates, this month's Seybold Conference in San Francisco will also see a keynote address from Apple board member, Steve Jobs, Dave Winer's Scripting.com Web site disclosed over the weekend. We all know what happened last time Jobs and Gates made an appearance on stage together; could Seybold be the arena for more announcements?

Microsoft Tosses Java Off Their Web Site
As reported elsewhere, Microsoft has removed all traces of the Java applets that once graced the confines of their Web site. In response, the company said only that they wanted to address the speed and compatibility issues brought about by the having the Java applets on their homepage.


Friday, September 12th
IBM Following In Motorola's Footsteps
After driving one of their biggest allies out of the Macintosh market yesterday, Apple is set to do the same with the other member of the once ground-breaking AIM alliance, Reuters reported today. According to the news service, IBM will follow in the footsteps set in place yesterday by Motorola and will shortly announce their exit from the Mac OS sub-licensing business. While this won't affect any IBM-branded products, as Big Blue never went so far as to christen their name on any actual Mac machine (the closest IBM got to making a Mac machine was the help it provided Apple with the PowerBook 2400), it will effectively be a death sentence for the two IBM sub-licensees, Tatung Co. Ltd. of Taiwan and Akia in Japan, who have been selling Macintosh machines in the Asian market. But at the same time, IBM reaffirmed -- like Motorola did yesterday -- that they will continue to supply the all important PowerPC chips to Apple.

Firms Ask Sun To Cede Control Of Java
Four computing industry giants -- Intel, Microsoft, Digital Equipment, and Compaq -- asked Sun Microsystems yesterday to cede control of Java over to an international standard-setting organization. An open letter from the four companies expressed concern that Sun has too much control over the language, and to remedy this problem, the firms suggested that Sun should turn over ownership of the language to the International Standards Organization, an international forum that regulates technical standards and measures. While Sun has expressed interest in taking the Java environment along a similar path, efforts have gone unsuccessful thus far, in large part due to Sun's insistency on having some amount of control of the software's direction.

New LetterRip Update Addresses Bugs, Adds Features
LetterRip 2.0.1, the latest version of FogCity Software's mailing list server, was released as a free upgrade for existing owners today. In addition to several fixes, the maintenance update provides the following new features:

  • The LetterRip Server can now be queried by PageSentry from Maxum Development Corporation. This allows a LetterRip Server to be remotely monitored to ensure that it is running.
  • The "List" headers that are used for enhanced email control can now be disabled.

Motorola FAQ Addresses Questions
A Motorola Questions & Answers page addresses relevant issues concerning Motorola, their StarMax line of machines, and the Mac OS. Of importance, the company says that the StarMax 3000 and 4000 systems are shipping with copies of Mac OS 7.6, while StarMax 5000 customers are entitled to a free upgrade to Mac OS 8. Also of note, the Q&A; page incorrectly states that Motorola will be honoring their 90-day telephone support agreements; the length of support is actually one year, as Motorola announced yesterday.

PowerTools, APS Still Licensed To Ship Machines
Motorola, through its sub-licensing OEM division (which, incidently, still holds a Mac OS license), will continue to ship motherboards to PowerTools and APS, PowerTools' Victor Wong said in an open letter received by The Mac Observer, thus keeping these two clone vendors alive for the forseeable future. In Wong's words, "Motorola [the OEM division] should continue to ship motherboards and support the OEMs for a very long time."

PowerTools Completes BeOS Licensing Agreement
PowerTools announced today that they have completed a licensing agreement with Be and will begin shipping the BeOS on all infiniti T2 and X-Factor machines beginning September 22nd. "We elected to include the BeOS with our systems due to the recent increase in interest and requests from our valued customers." said Victor Wong of PowerTools. Current PowerTools customers can obtain a copy of the BeOS through PowerTools for $9.95.

Pick The Best Software Mirror With QuickestMirror
Fabrizio Oddone's QuickestMirror 1.0 "lets you quickly and easily access data replicated ("mirrored") on several Internet servers such as the popular Info-Mac mirrors." Basically, instead of picking mirrors on a "choose the mirror nearest to you" basis, QuickestMirror will actually assess network performance to determine the best site.

QuickTime 3.0 Wins Honors From Videography
The latest, and as of yet unreleased, version of Apple's digital media system software, QuickTime 3.0, was recently awarded with two top honors -- the first annual Open Studio Interoperability Award and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) '97 Editors' Choice Award -- from Videography magazine, the company said today.


Thursday, September 11th
Motorola Officially Exits Macintosh Market
As first hinted at in the San Jose Mercury News this morning (see story below), Motorola Computer Group officially announced this afternoon its plan to discontinue making Mac OS-based machines in light of Apple's decision to limit the use of new technological advances. Like Power Computing before them, Motorola said they will continue selling their StarMax line of machines through the remainder of the year, and they also announced an extension to their unprecedented five-year warranty program. Exisiting and new buyers of StarMax machines will each receive one full year of telephone support free of charge, up from 90 days.

Joe Guglielmi, corporate vice president and general manager of Motorola Computer Group concluded, "This announcement brings to an end our effort to reach agreement with Apple on terms that would have supported our continued Mac OS investments. Now that we have arrived at this juncture," he added, "we will concentrate our resources on emerging opportunities in the market and on strengthening our profitable embedded and technical systems business, where we remain market leaders."

End Of Mac Business To Affect Motorola's Q3
The decision of the Motorola Computer Group to make a departure from the Macintosh market will have a substantial impact on Motorola's fiscal third quarter results, the company conceded after the close of the market today. The company's exit from the Mac OS business will be seen through a special one-time charge of approximately $95 million in their third quarter earnings report, which is scheduled to be released on October 6th. But what will all this mean for the actual Computer Group? The company said that much of the resources of the unit will be concentrated on its profitable embedded and technical systems business.

AIM Alliance Nearing The End Of The Road?
Amid the myriad of changes being made to Apple's stance on licensing, both IBM and Motorola are said to be making equally significant restructuring moves to their strategic alliance with Apple, and their ties to the Macintosh will apparently be one of the main shifts. According to this morning's edition of the San Jose Mercury News, IBM has given up their sub-licensing rights to the Mac OS, while Motorola is expected to make a formal announcement today (see today's top story) that will mark their withdrawal from the Macintosh clone market. At the same time, the Merc says that Motorola will also end their relationship with their sub-licensees, meaning the company's practice of providing hardware designs and the Mac OS to other manufacturers will end.

The other end of the Apple, IBM, and Motorola spectrum -- the PowerPC chip -- is also stirring up a bit of news. While Motorola and IBM have publicly confirmed that they will continue to supply Apple with PowerPC chips as long as the demand is there, the same report in the Mercury News says that Apple is demanding discounts by as much as 50% on the newest PowerPC chips, and is threatening to deny shipments until the prices are lowered.

Headhunter Gives Board List Of Candidates
The chief executive search committee from headhunter specialist Heidrick & Struggles was present at Tuesday and Wednesday's unscheduled Apple board meeting with a list of potential candidates for the vacant Apple CEO position in tow, the San Francisco Chronicle said today. The list generated by the firm, who is probably best known for their work in placing Lou Gerstner in the number one position at IBM, was used by the Apple board to determine which of the candidates to interview for the top spot. And while specific names on the list are known only by a few specific parties, sources contacted by the Chronicle did say that neither Bill Campbell nor Jerry York -- two of the newly appointed Apple board members -- were on the list, suggesting that the candidates are all from outside the Apple loop.

Worldgate Puts Gloves On For Showdown With WebTV
Microsoft's recently acquired WebTV division will soon see its first real competition in the set-top box Internet access arena. Worldgate Communications of Bensalem, Pennsylvania is planning a rollout of their cable Internet service in the next several weeks, and its primed with not only an attractive per month access fee of $12, but also the bonuses of cable modem speeds. Also a boon for Worldgate's chances is the fact that no additional equipment besides the set-top box (which is provided by the cable company as part of the normal installation) will be required for access.

AOL Features Now Available On The Internet
America Online's AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) brings the Buddy List and Instant Message capabilities of their service to anyone with an Internet connection. The crossplatform freeware application requires a one-time registration and allows communication between other AIM clients and also the standard AOL software. The latest version, 1.0.101, is available from here.


Wednesday, September 10th
Jobs Talks To MacInTouch, Says Good Things
Steve Jobs told Ric Ford's MacInTouch this morning that he is working as hard as he possibly can on the big changes that are taking place at Apple, all of which will be completed and announced in roughly 90 days. The summary of Ford's 20-minute conversation with Jobs revealed many interesting facets of Apple's direction, including information about the Mac OS; as Jobs put it, it's the epicenter of Apple's strategy and it runs only on PowerPC, so thus, Apple will continue to sell PowerPC boxes throughout the century. Jobs also touched on the cloning issue, new machines coming from Apple, marketing, and the fate of the Newton MessagePad. The entire summary of the conversation that had Ford saying he was "enormously relieved about Apple's direction" is available in the special September 10th section on MacInTouch.

Apple's New Board Meets For First Time
Apple's newly revamped board of directors convened for the first time face-to-face yesterday evening at what some describe as an unscheduled meeting. According to industry sources contacted by Reuters, it is believed that the board meeting is being held to review a list of candidates for the vacant CEO position in Cupertino. The news service reports that some believe an announcement of a new chief executive is imminent, possibly coming as early as today. Several of The Mac Observer's sources have suggested that the new board is entirely focused on appointing a new company head before Apple's current fiscal fourth quarter comes to an end on September 30th. If true, this would explain the unscheduled meeting.

Meanwhile, CNBC's technology correspondent, Bruce Francis, is reporting today that the board meeting, which is continuing into today, will merely result in a list of potential candidates, not an actual CEO announcement. Francis goes on to say that no candidates for the position have been interviewed. That statement comes despite admission from former Sony executive, Olaf Olafsson, that he had talks with Steve Jobs in August.

Apple Confirms It Will Not Spin Off Newton
Apple confirmed yesterday that they will not proceed with the formation of the already created Newton, Inc. subsidiary, in large part because of the "tremendous potential" surrounding the eMate 300. "We have decided not to proceed with the spin-off of the Newton subsidiary," an Apple spokeswoman told Reuters. Speculation is that the some variation of the eMate will become Apple's first foray into the network computer market, which makes sense, as fundamentally, the current eMate 300 is already as close as one could get to being network computer device without actually having an NC label on it. Spokespeople at Apple would not comment on what direction they are headed with both the eMate and MessagePad line of machines.

America Online Outlines CompuServe Strategy
America Online will keep recently acquired CompuServe as a separate unit with its own brand identity, executives at AOL told CompuServe employees yesterday. In keeping CompuServe a separate entity, it is believed that Bob Pittman, chief executive of AOL Networks, will apply a strategy similar to what Viacom did with his famous venture, MTV. Instead of just having one service that's intended to be all things to all people, it's routinely believed that America Online will try and attract mainstream users to their original service while pitching CompuServe to business users. But that's the expected strategy for the time being; some analysts expect AOL to merge the two services into one entity over time.

Microsoft's Latest Email Offering Due Next Week
Microsoft's email offering on the Macintosh will get a boost when the company releases a beta version of Outlook Express next week. The new product, which is expected to ship near the end of the year in final form, will supersede Microsoft's previous offering of Internet Mail & News and will be bundled with both Internet Explorer 4.0 and Microsoft Office 98. Support for the Internet Mail Access Protocol (IMAP), as well as the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), will be included in the client. MacWEEK has more.

[Update:] As a reader noted, Microsoft has jumped the gun a bit and is now offering a Preview 1 release of Outlook Express for the Macintosh on their FTP servers. Microsoft recommends not using this early beta as your primary email tool.

Claris Acquires Blue World's Lasso Technology
Blue World Communications announced earlier this week that Claris has acquired their Lasso technology for use as the underlying pinnings of FileMaker Pro 4.0. Claris' acquisition grants certain rights back to Blue World, who plan on continuing development of the technology as a commercial product. For a first-hand look at Lasso, Claris has a public beta of FileMaker Pro 4.0 available.

New Navigator Introduces Subtle Changes
Netscape's Steve Dagley sent notification that a new version of their standalone Navigator Web browser has been released. The list of enhancements and fixes for Navigator 4.03.1 are documented below, and note, the return of a separate download window is not one of them:

  • Adds the 'New Window with this Link' command.
  • Does not install IceTe and Random Signature extensions when installing Internet Config.
  • Uses the handler specified in Internet Config for news: URL's. (Note that the mailto: URL handler is also supported using Internet Config)
  • Removes "Alphabetize Bookmarks" menu item. (This feature was removed from both Communicator and Navigator but the menu item wasn't removed from Navigator 4.03)


Tuesday, September 9th
Netscape Tunes In Netcaster For The Mac
Netscape released a new version of their Communicator suite over the weekend along with the standalone edition of the Navigator 4.03 Web browser, and today they made true on their promise to provide Netcaster on the Macintosh by delivering the Preview Release 1. The vaunted, and highly anticipated, push technology, which has long been attainable on the PC platform, is available from Netscape's FTP servers in a Smart Update JAR package. Users of the latest Netscape browsers (which are required) simply need to download the .jar file and let the program run its automatic installation routine. (In our testing, we have experienced intermittent pauses in the installer that seem almost like complete freezes. We've found that everything installs normally, just only that it takes some time to finish.)

Apple Addresses Developers In Letter
A letter from Apple's Vice President of Worldwide Developer Relations, David Krathwohl, to Macintosh developers attempts to address the concerns in the Mac development community over the events of this past week. Krathwohl explains, "in order for everyone -- Apple, developers, licensees, and Mac customers -- to attain their long-term goals, Apple must return to profitibility as soon as possible." He goes on to say that if the previous licensing model continued, Apple would never reach the black and the entire Mac ecosystem would falter. Finally, Krathwohl reiterated that Apple is willing to expand their current license agreements with the clone vendors in exchange for increased licensing fees.

Partners Look To Expand PowerPC Market
This morning's edition of the New York Times covers Motorola's and IBM's PowerPC announcement yesterday in which the chip partners said that they would refocus the PowerPC processor family into uncharted markets. While the companies will move towards pushing the suite of processors into the consumer electronics and industrial markets, Hector Ruiz, the president of Motorola's semiconductor products group, said that yesterday's joint-announcement in no way affects their current agreements with Apple. Motorola and IBM will still provide PowerPC chips for Macintosh machines (and the remaining clone vendors), so as long as Apple continues to buy them.

Apple, Microsoft Deal Draws Interest From Europe
Microsoft's early-August investment in Apple has drawn attention from the European Commission, but according to a Reuters report, a senior Commission official said that the deal does not appear to pose any sort of competition concerns Europe. The $150 million investment in Apple by Microsoft qualified for review under the European Union rules, which are put in place to allow for fair competition, but the Commission's director said this was a routine practice, especially with deals involving Microsoft.

Microsoft Product Manager Clarifies FrontPage Plans
Following yesterday's news story in which a Microsoft employee said that the company has no intentions of continuing further development of FrontPage on the Macintosh, we received a note from Priscilla Mistele, FrontPage Product Manager at Microsoft, clarifying the company's position:

    "FrontPage has not dropped support for the Macintosh platform. We recently shipped a Macintosh version in April and will continue to support this product. We're currently hard at work getting FrontPage 98 for Windows out the door. Unlike the Microsoft Office team which is quite large and has the resources to support a dedicated development team for the Mac, the FrontPage team is relatively small and does not have resources to staff a separate Mac development effort. Hence, every FrontPage team member is currently 100% focused on shipping FrontPage 98. As such, we have not yet had an opportunity to plan for future Mac development and; therefore, cannot give dates for a future version of the Mac."

Is The Dog Still Alive? Apple Employee Says Yes
Cyberdog development is continuing at Apple, albeit at a tremendously reduced level, according to a series of messages posted on the cyberdog.general newsgroup. John A. Vink (who is referred to as JAV in the Cyberdog community), a software engineer at Apple, stated that bug fixes and enhancements are currently being worked on in Cupertino with the help of himself and several other engineers.


Monday, September 8th
CompuServe Bought, Handed Off To AOL
The nation's two largest online providers become one today in a complex deal that involved four companies. As previously expected, H&R; Block sold off its majority stake in CompuServe today to WorldCom for $1.2 billion shares of the U.S.' fourth largest telecommunications company. Then surprisingly, (but not prohibitly shocking as AOL was always a mentioned suitor of CompuServe) WorldCom in turn sold the consumer business of CompuServe, and its estimated 4 million subscribers, to America Online in exchange for AOL's ANS Network. The deal, pending approval from shareholders of all companies involved, will give America Online an unprecedented customer base of 12 million worldwide subscribers, and more importantly, the company, with CompuServe's business in hand, will be able to increase its stagnant European operations, which up until this particular time, has been a disappointing side of AOL's business.

Apple Decides Against Spinning Off Newton
Apple has changed its plans for the already created Newton, Inc. subsidiary, and Steve Jobs has had an apparent change of heart about the technology who recently said was no more than a "little scribbly thing." According to this morning's Wall Street Journal, the company, actually Jobs, has decided to reabsorb the mobile computing division, and instead of focusing on the vertical markets Newton, Inc. intended on, Apple will use the eMate as the main priority for the Newton group (who one can only imagine are, at this time, utterly confused about their future objectives). Jobs' decision to push the eMate wouldn't be as shocking as some of his recent maneuvers, but as Apple already has a license to the eMate design, it would be odd if they would suck in the entire Newton division for one product, that it unless recent speculation that Jobs vetoed Newton, Inc.'s business plan is correct.

MacCPU's Open Letter To Apple Board
Robert J. Moriarty, president of MacCPU, has written an Open Letter To Apple's Board Of Directors. Mr. Moriarty's excellent letter is an astute analysis and commentary concerning Steve Jobs's recent activities at Apple Computer, including statements like "Steve Jobs has personally driven more Mac users into the Wintel camp in the past three weeks than all the poor management of Apple Computer accomplished in the past five years." He goes on to ask how Apple has managed to do so poorly with a stable operating system (OS 8) and a CPU that is 3 times faster than Intel's offerings. We also suggest reading his feedback page for insight as to why he wrote the letter.

Data Detectors Make Anticipated Debut
Long a mainstay in the advanced technology demos at Macworld Expo and Worldwide Developer's Conference events was the Apple Data Detector technology. Now, the public can finally get a first hand look at the highly anticipated technology through Apple's Internet Address Detectors (IAD). The PowerPC-only extension works in conjunction with the contextual menu capabilities of Mac OS 8 to perform actions on Internet addresses in documents, allowing users complete control of where they want certain locations to be opened. All major Internet applications are supported by IAD, including all popular email, Web, FTP, and news clients. IAD can be downloaded from the product homepage.

After An Eventful Week, Licensing Resolved
With the buyout of Power Computing by Apple and the subsequent granting of Mac OS 8 licenses to some clone makers, the Mac OS licensing crisis can be said to have come to a close. We find the manner of that closure to be somewhat distasteful and think strongly that the previous course of licensing was the correct one, but the issue itself has been resolved. For this reason, we are closing the Mac OS Licensing Now! Web page. We hope that pressures being brought to bear upon Apple from different sources will cause Apple to eventually decide that choice is the best medicine for the Macintosh platform.

No More FrontPage For Mac, Says Microsoft
According to a note received by a reader, Microsoft has said they have no plans to develop future versions of FrontPage, their well received Web site development package, for the Macintosh. Users who are interested in seeing the product further developed on the Mac are asked to express their desire on Microsoft's feedback Wish List. For those interested, below is the reply from Microsoft:

    "There is no future version of FrontPage for the Macintosh planned at this time. If you would like continued development on this platform please visit our web site and express your desire for future releases of the FrontPage product on the Macintosh platform."

Jobs "Answers" Questions Posed By MacInTouch
A frank and open letter sent to Apple's Steve Jobs by MacInTouch's Ric Ford was answered, but instead of concentrating on the issues and questions at hand, Jobs was determined to sidestep the inquiries and in turn lambaste Ford's excellent efforts over the years. Jobs' reply and the original letter can be found here.

Power Computing Wins License For Mac OS 8
It took a buyout of their core assets last week, but Power Computing has won a license for Mac OS 8, according to TechWeb. From now until December 31st, when the company's existence as a Mac OS clone vendor officially comes to an end, purchasers of machines from Power will receive a copy of Mac OS 8. The software will initially be bundled, but will eventually be pre-installed on all machines.


Friday, September 5th
Apple Grants Mac OS 8 License To UMAX
Mac OS licensing is still alive, at least it seems if you're willing to sell into the market segments Apple wants no part of. Taiwanese clone manufacturer and maker of several lines of sub-$1,500 machines, UMAX, announced today that they have finalized an agreement with Apple that allows them to ship Mac OS 8 with their systems. Whether or not this agreement covers UMAX' entire line of machines wasn't said in so many words, but the company did triumph themselves as "the world's only firm that can sell whole series of Mac-compatible computers", a dubious distinction at best. It seems that Apple might be willing to let UMAX have full reign of Mac OS 8 in turn for the clone vendor's eventual committment to migrate to an entire line of sub-$1,500 machines, a market segment Apple admittedly wants no part of.

POWERtools Says They Will Begin Shipping Mac OS 8
Austin, Texas-based clone vendor, POWERtools, said this morning that they will begin shipping copies of Mac OS 8 with their recently introduced infiniti T2 systems. What remains in question, however, is the exact nature of this announcement. Will POWERtools merely being bundling shrink-wrapped copies of the software or have they obtained a license from Apple? The events of this week coupled with today's UMAX announcement would lead one to believe that the former is the case.

[Update:] POWERtools' president and chief executive, Victor Wong, wrote in with clarification of today's announcement.

    "PowerTools has been offer the license to ship Mac OS 8.0. Each infiniti T2 system will have Mac OS 8.0 pre-installed and a CD-ROM disk of the OS will also be included."

CD-R Media Can Be Found At Cheap Prices, If You Look
While the CD-ROM medium has always been an inexpensive high-capacity solution for software publishers (because of the large quantities, developers usually end up getting discs for pennies), end-users who have CD-R drives and need CD-R discs have been faced with exhorbent prices from many outlets. Great prices are out there, however, and Dan de Grandpre's deal-mac site is tracking some places in which you can find some tremendous bargains. See their analysis "CD-R media so cheap, it's free".

Metrowerks Bringing Latitude To The BeOS
Metrowerks is in the process of porting Latitude to the BeOS, according to a note posted on Dave Winer's Scripting.com site from a Be employee. The application currently minimizes the task of taking a Macintosh application over the UNIX environment, and with the port to the BeOS, developers will be able to move their Macintosh software to the Be platform with relative ease.


Thursday, September 4th
Power Withdraws Registration For IPO
To no great surprise, Power Computing has formally withdrawn its already delayed registration for an Initial Public Offering of 3 million shares, following Tuesday's buyout of the company's core assets by Apple. The text taken from their Request For Withdrawal Of Registration document follows:

    "Pursuant to Rule 477(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, Power Computing Corporation, a Delaware corporation (the "Company"), hereby applies for withdrawal of the above-referenced Registration Statement and hereby requests an order consenting to the withdrawal be entered by the Commission pursuant to Rule 477(c) as soon as practicable. Since Apple Computer, Inc. is acquiring the Company's core assets, including its license to distribute the MacOS operating system, the Company has decided to terminate the public offering registered by the Registration Statement. No securities included in the Registration Statement have been or will be sold."

Motorola's StarMax Pro 6000 Put On Ice
Following Tuesday's revelation that Apple has no plans to license a version of the Mac OS for CHRP machines, Motorola Computer Group told MacWEEK yesterday that they have put plans to ship the StarMax Pro 6000 -- a CHRP-compliant machine that uses the new "Cobra" motherboard -- on hold. With the issues surrounding the release of such a system, Motorola says the temporary decision is being made in the customer's best interest. Meanwhile, the company will continue to sell their StarMax 3000, 4000, and 5000 lines, but because of the recent rearrangement of the Mac OS Up-To-Date program, Motorola's hopes of including Mac OS 8 have been altered. They now say that customers wishing to make the upgrade should "take a walk to their local reseller."

Intuit Out With Better Than Expected Earnings
Recent cost-cutting moves enabled Intuit to a report a small than expected loss for their recently completed fiscal fourth quarter. The maker of the popular Quicken financial software package saw revenue rise 10 percent to $94.1 million from $84.4 million, while operating losses totaled $8 million, or 17 cents per share. The loss -- which doesn't include a one-time charge of $10.4 million for acquisitions and restructuring costs -- did however beat Wall Street's expectation of 18 cents a share, although it was marginally higher than the corresponding quarter last year.

CompuServe Buyout Coming, Says WSJ
Months of shopping around appear to be coming to an end for the owner of a large online provider. According to this morning's Wall Street Journal, H&R; Block is close to a deal to sell its majority stake in CompuServe, the nation's second largest online provider. The interested suitor is said to be leveraged-buyout firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, and while terms of the deal are unknown, the Journal says that an official announcement could come as early as this week.

Power Begins Their Final Months With Price Cuts
In what will almost surely be the first in a long line of price cut announcements, Power Computing said yesterday that they have lowered prices on two of their models; the PowerCenter Pro 240 and PowerBase 240. Effective immediately, the PowerCenter Pro 240 will be $100 cheaper, while pricing on the PowerBase 240 has been slashed by $300. The reduced prices reflect both the mini-tower and low-profile enclosures of both machines.

Quark Named Winner Of ColorSync Award
QuarkXPress 4.0, the first version of Quark's de facto page layout production and design tool in seven years, was awarded Apple's "Best Use of ColorSync in a Commercial Application" today at the PRINT '97 conference in Chicago. As a sign of recognition, Quark will receive one of the limited edition Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh.

Former Apple Exec Joins Ranks At Blockbuster
Edward B. Stead, Apple's former General Counsel and Senior Vice President and Secretary, has been named Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Blockbuster Entertainment, the company announced today. Stead joins the entertainment management team at Blockbuster following an eight year stint in Cupertino, Calif.


Wednesday, September 3rd
The Mac Observer Reviews PowerTower Pro G3
As we here at The Mac Observer like to say, Power Computing's PowerTower Pro G3 is the fastest computer you'll never see. Because of the events which unfolded over the course of the past few weeks, Macintosh users will not see a PowerPC 750-based machine until Apple gets around to shipping one (unless Motorola could somehow entice Apple to license the Mac OS for CHRP), and it's a shame, especially after being able to put the PowerTower Pro G3 through its paces over the past week. Those needing the absolute state of the art in a Mac will miss out on, as we said yesterday, one of the true technological marvels of recent years. Find out more in The Mac Observer's exclusive review of The Beast in The Fastest Computer You'll Never See.

Jobs' Memo Explains Apple's Reasoning
Apple's newly woven board of directors felt that the continuation of the current licensing setup would end with Apple never returning to profitability, a memo purportedly from Steve Jobs said yesterday. The note, which found its way into the hands of numerous news publications, stated that Apple is honoring their current agreements with licensees, but that they have decided not to expand those agreements to include a version of the Mac OS for CHRP machines. Jobs said Apple was interested in doing so, but he claims that the clone manufacturers routinely rejected their offers to raise the fees, something which people The Mac Observer spoke with say isn't true -- according to employees at one clone vendor, they were apparently ready and willing to accept higher fees.

Jobs ended his memo by conceding that Apple missed the licensing boat at a critical point in their history (he gives a 1988-1992 timeframe). This opportunity, Jobs says, has haunted the company over the years, "and finally drove Apple to make the poor business decisions resulting in the existing Mac OS licenses."

Meanwhile, Dave Winer had the chance to briefly discuss yesterday's events with Steve Jobs. Read what Jobs had to say during their conversation.

Apple To Write Off Portion Of Purchase
During yesterday evening's conference call with members of the press, Apple's chief operating officer, Fred Anderson, said that Apple will write off a significant portion of the $100 million acquisition of Power Computing's core assets in their fiscal fourth quarter, which ends later this month. Anderson declined to give specific figures beyond that.


Tuesday, September 2nd
Power's Mac OS Days Come To An End
They were first company to obtain a Mac OS license, and as such, Power Computing's name will always be synonymous with the change that occurred in the Apple culture in 1994, yet today's events not only mark the end of Power's Mac OS days, but they seem to be the first steps in a return to the days of a closed platform (whether or not UMAX will gain rights to the low-end market is still undetermined). As was widely expected, Apple Computer officially announced this morning that they will acquire Power Computing's core assets in an agreement worth $100 million of common Apple stock. The deal grants Apple the right to retain key Power Computing employees, but most importantly, Power's license to sell Mac OS-based machines has been bought back by Apple.

As part of the agreement, Apple will provide Mac OS-related support for exisiting Power Computing customers, while Power said they will honor their current hardware warranties. But exact plans for the Round Rock, Texas-based firm's departure from the Mac OS market were not known at press time, although the company does say that they will continue to sell Mac OS machines through the end of the year.

Where Does Power Go From Here?
Although Apple has effectively bought out Power Computing's entire branch of Mac OS operations, there has been no outright acquisition or merger, as some news outlets have suggested. Power will still possess the Power Computing moniker, and despite the slimmer and trimmer organization that will surely result from today's shifting assets, the company is marching ahead with its Intel plans. Those plans will start next week with the rollout of their first Intel-based offering; a high-end notebook that will be aimed at small to medium-sized businesses. Its feature set is said to be comparable to the high-end lines from IBM and Toshiba, but Power will look to cut into the markets of these established leaders with an attractive price point.

Mac Users Won't See PowerTower Pro G3
A spokesman at Power Computing reaffirmed today that they will not ship the PowerTower Pro G3 line, even though the they will continue to sell their other lines throughout the remainder of the year. The engineering blueprints of the PowerPC 750-powered machines are now presumably in Apple's hands, and whether or not they will immediately do anything with the designs is unclear. One thing is for sure, however; Macintosh users who need the speediest systems will be missing out on one of the true technological marvels of recent years, at least for the time being.

Wall Street Unfazed By Apple/Power Announcement
In a day that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average soar to an amazing 250+ point gain (the NASDAQ had equally impressive gains), Wall Street responded to news of the Apple and Power Computing arrangement with a lukewarm, albeit positive, greeting. Shares of Apple were up just over a half point on moderate trading. The gain worked out to nearly a 3% swing to the upside in the stock, which following last month impressive run up to 30, has been hovering in the 21-25 range.

Company Working On CHRP Compatible Design
Mac Observer reader, Jeremy Mims, passed along the following information about PIOS, a company working on a CHRP-compatible hybrid that will run versions of the BeOS and Linux, as well as the Mac OS (if Apple decides to proceed with the CHRP version):

    I have just found a company (PIOS) that makes Mac OS clones. The interesting thing is that the company has a CHRP computer and is apparently taking orders on it! They are getting it out the door with the BeOS and Linux but it is fully Mac OS compatible. It is fully CHRP compliant and it runs an OS called the pOS, as well, that I believe is an Amiga compatible OS with all modern features. Their CHRP version is called Pios One and it is NOT CHRP. It is CHRP compatible."

Replace Your Charcoal With Sand
LinksWare's "Sand" font, a new screen font derived from the Espi family, functions with the Mac OS 8 Appearance Manager control panel as a replacement system font, according to Ric Ford's MacInTouch Web site.



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