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August, 1998 Archive


Tuesday, August 25th

Top Story
Quark Making A Hostile Bid For Adobe?

[10:53PM] Quark has made a hostile bid for Adobe. Details will follow in a few minutes.

[11:28PM] In a stunning and bold move, Quark, Inc., the maker of Quark Xpress, has apparently made a hostile bid for one arch rival Adobe Systems, Inc., the maker of Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier, PageMaker and other graphics applications. Fred Ebrahimi, Quark's president and CEO said "Our intention is to enter into a friendly transaction with Adobe," Adobe flatly rejected the offer on August 21st.

The offer included a premium over today's price for all or a "significant amount" of Adobe's common stock as well as a plan to divest itself of some Adobe products that could cause regulator interference. From a letter dated August 18th:

"We recognize that our proposed business combination may present certain regulatory issues which we are committed to resolve. Towards this end, we would commit to divest, to one or more viable third parties, Adobe's K-2 and PageMaker products and, to the extent required to complete the transaction, we would be willing to consider divesting Adobe's FrameMaker products as well as any other product which would present regulatory issues. Therefore, we are confident that any antitrust issues would be resolved readily and would present no impediment to completion of our combination."

[11:50PM] In what could almost be described as a Corporate Flame War, Adobe has fired back a series of terse press releases of its own:

"Adobe has advised Quark that Adobe is not interested in pursuing discussions with Quark and that the company is focused on the exciting opportunities that are available to its stockholders, employees and customers. "

It is very possible that Quark is concerned about Adobe's "Quark Killer" app code named K-2. While Xpress 4 has been more or less of a success for Quark, complaints of buggyness have been rampant. It could be that they desire to see a merger/acquisition with Adobe before the market makes the concept a moot one. With Quark having a massive dominance in the professional print world, this is not likely.

It is also possible that Quark is seeking to raise public awareness of the company prior to a public offering of its own, though there have been no indications that Tim Gill and Fred Ebrahimi, the two principals of the privately held company, are planning such a move.

As Adobe was so quick to point out, the proposal letter from Quark was short on details such as how much they were offering and whether or not Quark would remain private after the acquisition.

[Special thanks to Bill Troop who contributed to this story]

Apple, IBM, Inprise, Object Share, and Zero-G
[12:40PM]Apple Computer, Inc., IBM Corporation, Inprise Corporation and ObjectShare Inc. all announced bundling deals with Zero-G. The companies will distribute InstallAnywhere, Zero-G's cross platform installation software. In addition to being cross-platrorm, Zero-G claims that InstallAnywhere is the only installation software to include MacOS and MRJ enhancements.

This adds further evidence that Steve Jobs will follow through with his stated commitment to have the MacOS be the premier Java platform. Apple gets additional PR bonus credibility points by having its name mentioned in the same announcement as IBM and Inprise, two large enterprise players.

Apple - IBM  - Inprise  - Zero-G  - ObjectShare

Distributor Increases Apple Sales Force Effort
[12:20PM]Pinacor, Inc. is one of only two U.S. technology distributors chosen by Apple to sell its products. In a move sure to bolster the Mac push into new market share territory, the company has organized a dedicated Apple Sales Segment to add more focus on Apple Authorized Resellers.

This means that the Authorized Resellers will get more support in training their own sales forces. Since a lack of knowledgeable sales team members is one of the biggest reasons that Apple lost so much retail business, this effort by Pinacor may actually increase Apple's momentum.

In addition, Pinacor added GoLive, Connectix, and VST to its list of manufacturers. Pinacor currently has over 25,000 resellers it distributes to.

Apple - Pinacor 


Monday, August 21st

Correction!: Our article incorrectly noted the iMac's pre-installed connectivity settings as being Mindspring's ; the iMac is preconfigured with Earthlink as the preconfigured ISP. 

Earthlink

 

Apple Releases AppleShare IP 6.0
[2:08PM]Apple has released the long awaited AppleShare IP 6.0. Apple totes the package as being the "worlds easiest-to-use server software," according to Phil Schiller, vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing at Apple.

AppleShare IP 6.0 includes the following features:

  • Twice the performance of Windows NT Servers when Mac clients copy large documents or folders.
  • Improved scalability with the ability to support up to 500 simultaneous file server clients and 10,000 individual registered users in the server database.
  • A plug-in architecture that will allow users to customize AppleShare's file, web and security capabilities.
  • Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAPv4) support that now complements the more traditional POP and SMTP mail servers, giving users the convenience and flexibility of viewing email without downloading to their computer, as well as an email message storage system capable of conducting server-side searches using Apple's Sherlock technology, offering users fast accessibility to information on the server.

Apple - Press Release

Follow Up
The iMac Connectivity Issue May Not Be

[2:15PM]More reports from readers as well as regional VAR Computize say there has been no problems connecting to other ISPs. It seems clear that while it easiest to connect to Earthlink, connecting to any provider is possible.

[10:45AM]We received many reports from iMac owners over the weekend. All of them reported no connectivity problems at all except for a few who could not connect at over 28.8 speeds. That problem is more likely related to local phone lines and local ISP's receiving modems.

Macintouch's iMacintouch section relates a letter from Steve Jobs that says that an extensive search for problems by Apple found no problems. Other contributing factors for the reported problems from iMac purchasers could relate to the 15% who are new customers (see Friday's Top Story). These customers in particular may have problems connecting to anyone other than the pre-installed Mindspring settings.

Thanks to all the Mac Observer readers who wrote to tell us about their great iMac experiences. We welcome more stories which we may compile into a Special Feature.

Apple - iMacintouch - Earthlink


Friday, August 20th

Top Story
15% Of iMac Users Are First Time Buyers

[10:57AM]San Francisco Bay Area Mac retailer Computer Ware has released the results of a stunning survey conducted in its 10 Bay Area stores. According to the survey 15% of ComputerWare's iMac buyers were first time computer buyers. In addition, some 13% were found to be replacing Wintel boxes.

If these statistics are consistent elsewhere, Apple will be accomplishing what it has not for many years; bringing new users to the platform and expanding market share.

Apple - ComputerWare

Connectivity Problems For iMac Users Reported
[2:14PM]There are currently reports surfacing all over the net about connectivity problems for iMac customers. The iMac Support message boards have many

The problem seems to stem when users try and connect to an ISP other than EarthLink which has its connectivity settings preinstalled on the iMac.

We set up the demo unit used for CompUSA's iMac Rollout on Saturday. Once we realized the iMac's default dial-up was not handled by the PPP control panel, connecting to a non-EarthLink ISP was flawless and stable. The Mac Observer Staff is interested in hearing about iMac owner's experiences with connectivity as we continue to investigate these reports.

Apple

Mac Headlines From Around The World
[1:45PM]Our estimates show that there have been approximately 300 Mac and iMac oriented headlines in major publications around the world during the last 3 weeks. In the 5 days surrounding the release of the iMac alone, there were almost 200.

What is different from most of the mainstream Apple coverage during the preceding 30 months is that almost all of these stories have been positive. Spanning from Apple's profitability to the high consumer demand for the iMac, many of these stories use phrases like "the once struggling computer maker" to refer to Apple. The negatives comments that can be found center around such trivial things as the lack of a floppy drive on the iMac.

More signs that Apple is well down the road toward recovery.

Apple


Thursday, August 19th

Apple Launches Online iMac Support
[6:03PM]According to a press release, Apple launched an online support center for the iMac today in order to "provide iMac customers easy access to information about their computers, peripherals and accessories 24 hours a day." The site features an interface that is as attractive and easy to use as the iMac itself. Apple played upon the "i" concept by offering pull down menus labled

  • iWant to Know about...
  • iConnect to...
  • iNeed Help
  • iUpdate my...
  • iSubscribe

as well as a discussion board where iMac customers can "share insights." At press time there were already over 200 messages on the system. "We want our new iMac customers to know that our commitment to them does not end once they bring their iMac home," said Sina Tamaddon, Apple's senior vice president of Service and Support.

Apple - iMac Support

Conflicting Reports About iMac Availability
[10:37AM]Many media sources are reporting that Apple is still facing product shortages with its extremely popular iMac. However, an anonymous reader reports that his local CompUSA is expecting regular shipments of between 30-50 units per week for the next several weeks. This is a relatively high number for a product that is running so far behind. There have also been scattered reports from dealers across the country who say that they have some stock available now.

Apple

Floppy Drives For The iMac?
[10:58AM]Macintouch reports on a way of installing a floppy drive. The motherboard has an empty socket where a floppy drive connector can be soldered. It is important to remember that doing so would completely void all warranties from Apple. We encourage you to read the reports contained in Macintouch's iMacintouch section.

iMac - Macintouch - iMacintouch


Wednesday, August 19th

iMac To Debut In Japan
[3:18PM] Apple has announced August 29th as the date for the iMac's debut in Japan. The Japanese market has not been a bright spot in Apple's Asian efforts during the last 18 months. This is due in part to the lack of any low-end consumer machines such as the iMac.

The Mac Observer Spin:The iMac could be a huge hit in Japan where conesumers tend to be much more ergonomically oriented. The iMac's remarkable styling and small footprint could propel the Cupertino company's market share upwards, even in the midst of the overall Asian slump.

iMac

Dell Posts Record Quarter
[10:27AM]The company that Steve Jobs named Public Enemy Number 1 earlier this year continues to see record growth. Earning some $346 million on revenues of $4.3 billion, Dell saw growth in its America's unit increase some 50% while even its Asian-Pacific unit posted a 34% gain.

Dell

Netscape Posts Profitable Quarter
[10:15AM]Netscape posted an $88,000 profit on revenues of $150.2 million, up from $136 million last year. While practically a break even quarter, analysts had expected a loss.

``We are pleased with the results we posted for the quarter,'' Netscape President Jim Barksdale said in a statement. ''We're seeing strong momentum in both the Enterprise software and Netcenter businesses.''

Recently Netscape has turned towards its Internet portal as a revenue center as part of its attempts to replace the revenue from its now-free Navigator and Communicator line of products.

Netscape

Apple Reports Record Sales Of iMac In Retail
[9:45AM]While still not releasing specific sales numbers for the iMac, Apple announced today in a press release that resellers across the country were experiencing record level sales.

"iMac has been the biggest computer launch we've seen in our history," said Jim Halpin, CompUSA president and CEO. "Apple is back, and iMacs are flying off CompUSA store shelves across the U.S."

"It's Christmas in August!" said Paul Ramirez, vice president of marketing for ComputerWare. "ComputerWare sold more iMacs on Saturday than all desktop PCs combined in the month of July."

Apple will reportedly be delivering tens of thousands of more iMacs this weekend.

Apple


Tuesday, August 18th

Apple Stock Continues To Rise
[11:05AM]The meteoric rise of Apple's stock that we first reported last week contiues. The success of the iMac rollout has pumped the sotck up an additional 7.8% this week alone (at the time of this writing). Since its low of $12.75 last year, the stock has seen a phenomenal growth rate of 238%.

Apple - Apple Stock

CorelDRAW 8 For The Mac Now Shipping
[10:20AM]Corel Corporation, the leader in the PC graphics world shipped its latest Macintosh offering today. Through October 31st, all owners of any graphics, illustration or painting software will be able to purchase CorelDRAW 8 for Power Macintosh from any local Computer Superstore for a special introductory price of US $99 after mail-in rebate. In addition, customers who purchase an iMac or any other Apple system from CompUSA through September 30, 1998 can buy CorelDRAW 8 for Power Macintosh for US $49 after mail-in rebate.

During the last few years, Corel has ben rocked by financial difficulties, aborted development efforts, and corporate restructurings. With Adobe and Macromedia making strong inroads into its traditional stronghold, Corel hopes that CorelDRAW 8 will gain back lost territory. Corel Corporation first entered the Macintosh market with CorelDRAW Suite 6 two years ago.

Corel Corporation


Monday, August 17th

Our Saturday coverage included an in depth look at CompUSA's rollout of the iMac in Austin, Tx.

iMacs Available
[3:20PM] Peter Menchini of Computown writes in to say that his company has iMacs available right now with more on the way. Their store is located in San Francisco and was recently featured in Apple's iMac section.

Computown - Apple Feature

Apple's Product Lineup Officially Modified
[12:45PM] Macintouch reports that Apple has officially modified it's product lineup. The 366 MHz PowerMac has been deleted altogether, with the 333 MHz PowerMac with a 9 GB UltraSCSI mosel being the top of the line. The original listing of the 366 MHz model was never officially released by Apple, but was sent to resellers in advance of the official press release.

Apple - Macintouch

Product Shortages Exagerated?
[12:50PM] An anonymous source suggests that the reported shortage of iMacs may have been slightly exagerated. While we have no confirmation of this, if it is true it only confirms Jobs's brilliance at marketing and spin control. All reports show the iMac flying off the show floors as fast as they arrive, and the hype surrounding their availability may be a contributing factor.

iMac

Follow Up On Saturday's Report
[12:53PM]Of the 144 units at the CompUSA location in Austin, all but 20 (which were held back for Sunday) were sold on Saturday. The remaining 20 were gone by 2:00PM. Computize, a regional VAR, reports that their entire allotment was sold on Saturday, calling it the single biggest product rollout in their history.

Computize - CompUSA

 


Saturday, August 15th

The Mac Observer is the process of moving to a new server. This change will be taking place during the next few weeks. When we are finished, you will be able to expect consistant and reliable service.

The iMac Hits The Ground Running
[2:17PM] I was able to spend a few hours at CompUSA’s iMac rollout in Austin, Tx. From the moment I entered you could tell there was a party atmosphere in the store. The GM had thought to provide donuts and coffee for customers and employees and this added to the welcoming feeling.

One thing that simply can not be overstated is how cool this machine looks. I have been looking at pictures of the iMac since its announcements and even still I was not prepared for how attractive it is in person. The Bondi-Blue sides are now a nice matte finish and the other Bondi-Blue aspects are very shiny. These combine with the shape to make something that is almost consuming in its coolness. You just want to keep looking at it.

Read the full article.

Apple - CompUSA


Friday, August 14th

The Mac Observer Covers The iMac Debut
[2:51PM] The Mac Observer will cover tomorrow's release of the iMac. We will have interviews with CompUSA employees as well as Apple representatives. Look for an update early in the afternoon!

Apple - CompUSA

Apple Unveils Marketing Capaign Of $100 Million
[1:13PM] Apple announced that it will be spending $100 Million through the end of the year on iMac marketing. This would make it the most expensive marketing capaign to date from the Cupertino based computer maufacturer and just shy of the amount spent by Microsoft for the introduction of Windows 95.

The campaign will include TV spots on such shows as Seinfeld, Drew Carey, News Radio, South Park, and Larry King. The first ad is expected to air on Sunday August 16th, on theWonderful World Of Disney.

In addition to the TV spots and the current round of radio ads, the campaugn will include billboards and a 12 page magazine spread in Time, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, People, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone, with an anticipated 15 million copies. According to Apple, this will double previous efforts at magazine advertising.

Apple


Tuesday, August 11th
Apple Stock Nears 40
[12:30PM] Apple's stock has been hovering near 40 today, a price it has not seen since December of 1995. Apple's announcement yesterday of 150,000 preorders for the exciting new iMac may be contributing to the stock's upward surge. Rising from just under 13 a year ago, Apple stock will have jumped a remarkable 300% since the return of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs if it can manage to close above 39 today.

Apple - Apple Stock

Apple To Introduce New Machines Today
[11:45AM] Apple is expected to announce its latest editions to the Power Mac lineup. After discontiuing its previous line of 233 MHz, 266 MHz, and 300 MHz computers late last month, the computer manufacturer brings a much needed speed boost to hungry consumers. The new line will include a 300 MHz low end Power Mac for $1999, and will top out with a 366 MHz computer for a surprisingly low $2999. A 333MHz model is also expected. MacInTouch reports that Apple will be bringing in another update to the line at the end of the year with 100 MHz system busses and 400 MHz G3 processors.

Apple - MacInTouch


Monday, August 10th
iMac Less Than One Week From Debut
[11:30AM] The iMac is the single most hyped computer to come down the pipeline since the introduction of the original Macintosh Mac and IBM PC almost two decades ago. Scheduled to hit shelves this Saturday, the machine is drawing impressive pre-orders, with some estimates putting advanced orders above the 100,000 mark. But now the biggest question is whether Apple can keep up with the demand.

A CompUSA source in Austin, Texas reports that of the 50 allocated to that store for the rollout, 40 were pre-sold by the beginning of August, and that all machines were expected to be booked before the end of this week. Following on the heels of 3 back to back profitable quarters, the iMac will be a major barometer of Apple's continued success.

iMac Information - CompUSA

Mac Victorious In Bungie's Platform War
[10:30AM] Myth: The Fallen Lords has become a major hit in the gaming world, achieving sales of over 350,000 units worldwide since its original release. During the last two months, the game's maker, Bungie Software, has conducted a contest called The Platform Wars to determine which computing platform was superior -- Macintosh or Wintel. Showing the humorous side that has earned them adoring fans since the release of their ground-breaking Marathon series, Bungie chose 250 Mac users and 250 PC users from the online version of the game to battle it out amongst themselves to determine Platform Champs.

The two Champions were flown to last week's GenCon gaming convention to battle it out head-to-head. Panamon, the Mac Champion, defeated Mundrid, the PC champion in the competition. Since gaming has proven to be key to consumer interest, hardware development, and even market share growth, this is excellent PR for the Mac. Congratulations to Panamon and the team and Bungie!

Bungie Software - bungie.net


Tuesday, August 4th
Intuit Completes Executive Reorganization
[2:00PM] At a board meeting last week, Intuit's directors made their previously disclosed restructuring plans final, electing Bill Campbell chairman and William Harris president and CEO. In addition, the company also appointed founder Scott Cook as chairman of the executive committee of the board. Prior to the reorganization, which was first announced this past May, Cook had been serving as chairman; Campbell as president and CEO; and Harris as executive vice president. The changes took action on August 1, coinciding with the beginning of Intuit's new fiscal year. intuit<>


Monday, August 3rd
CompUSA, Computer City Get Go Ahead From FTC
[12:15PM] CompUSA's acquisition of Tandy's Computer City subsidiary last week received a green light from the Federal Trade Commission, who granted early termination of the required Hart-Scott- Rodino waiting period. The $275 million deal, originally announced in June, is still subject to normal due diligence and other conditions, but is expected to be completed by month's end, the companies said.

CompUSA - Computer City



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