It's a war out there, and the chairman and CEO of Power Computing wants to win.
Steve Kahng, the general leading the Mac clone charge, is literally and figuratively coming to rescue Apple Computer and its operating system. In an interview at the Power Computing booth at the Macworld Expo, manned by personnel dressed in fatigues, Kahng told CNET that he is in talks with IBM and Motorola to form a consortium which would beef up Mac software development and the developer community.
The parties are still in the talking stage and there is no timetable for when such a consortium would get off the ground or what it would be called. Kahng said he feels Apple would not only welcome such an alliance but should become a member.
"The new management is listening. They are not as arrogant as in the past," Kahng said. "Bringing in outsiders has helped break the old corporate culture."
Forming an independent consortium has its merits. For one, it will assuage any lingering doubt among the code warriors that Apple competes with its own developers, a point of contention in the past. Pooling financial resources also would create a much bigger pot from which to dole out seed and development money to independent software vendors (ISVs).
Last year Apple made developer relations a high priority. First it hired Heidi Roizen as vice president of the developer relations group and then handed her a war chest of $20 million to fund developers.
To have developers adopt a Mac-first and Mac-only attitude, however, Apple's preliminary steps simply won't cut it. That's where the consortium's resources come in.
"We will give money to developers," Kahng said, adding, "we are a much bigger company now." And to validate his growing influence, he had posters throughout the convention walls with his picture, with the message: "Defend your OS or you will lose it."
Kahng says IBM wants in on the alliance because "our common goal is to defend the PowerPC platform."
ISVs, although unaware about the IBM-Motorola-Power Computing talks, reacted very favorably to the idea of forming a consortium.
"We will definitely want to be part of that," said Roger Bowman, a developer relations manager at Symantec. "It can bring a new level of maturity and a great way to do evangelism for Apple," he said, adding "all ISVs think [Rhapsody] is a great new opportunity."
Guerrino DeLuca, president of Apple software subsidiary Claris, echoed the sentiments, saying the formation of consortium was "a great idea."
Apple officials could not be reached for comment.