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Akia to exit Mac clone market

The Japanese company decides to abandon a market segment that accounts for about 10 percent of its annual PC sales.

Akia, one of Japan's largest Macintosh clone vendors, will exit that by the end of February, a casualty of Apple Computer's decision to license the Macintosh operating system (OS) exclusively to Umax Computer.

Akia has decided it will abandon a market segment that accounts for about 10 percent of its annual PC sales, according to a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan's largest business daily. The Japanese manufacturer also produces portables based on Microsoft's Windows OS and peripheral devices, such as monitors.

Mounting inventory costs were also a factor in Akia's decision, according to Nikkei.

Akia began selling Mac clones last January, using a sub-license for the Mac OS obtained from International Business Machines. But last fall Apple's interim CEO, Steve Jobs, concluded it wasn't good business to continuing licensing the OS and ended arrangements with all but Taiwan's Umax. The decision effectively killed the clone market; IBM ceased sublicensing to vendors like Akia.

Akia will withdraw from the Mac market after eliminating an inventory of about 150 machines, according to the newspaper. The company sells through the retail channel and also directly via the Web.