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Apple makes push deals

Apple cuts deals with Marimba and PointCast to integrate push technology into its Mac OS 8, due in July.

NEW YORK--As Microsoft rushes to convert Windows into a tuner for receiving Internet information broadcasts, Apple Computer (AAPL) is following suit by partnering with leading push companies.

At the PC Expo trade conference here today, Apple said that it would include push technology from Marimba and PointCast in Mac OS 8, a new version of its operating system due out in July. Apple had previously announced a relationship with Marimba, but did not specify when it would bundle Marimba's Castanet tuner with Mac OS.

The partnerships demonstrate Apple's determination not to be left in the dust while Microsoft takes the lead in reinventing its OS to become more focused on the Internet.

Microsoft is developing its own push technology capabilities in Internet Explorer 4.0 browser, which will be integrated with the next version of Windows 95, code-named Memphis. IE 4 will also work with PointCast's news service.

Unlike Microsoft, Apple isn't relying on homegrown push technologies, but is instead bundling software that was already available separately for the Mac OS. The bundling of Marimba's Castanet Tuner and PointCast with Mac OS 8 will make it more convenient for users to tap into Internet news broadcasts. It will also provide the two push companies with a potential audience of millions of Mac users.

Apple will develop a special Apple Channel for users of the Mac version of PointCast.

The Mac OS also may come with other push technologies in the future. Apple plans to bundle browsers from Netscape Communications and Microsoft with Mac OS 8. Both Netscape and Microsoft are incorporating push technology into the Mac versions of their browsers, although it's unclear whether those technologies will be available in time for the July shipment of Mac OS 8.

Later today, Ellen Hancock, executive vice president of advance technology at Apple, will demonstrate Mac OS 8 at PC Expo. She will also demonstrate an early version of Rhapsody, the code name for Apple's next-generation operating system.