Umax cuts Mac prices by 16%

Costs dive as the expiration of its license to the Macintosh OS draws near.

Umax, the sole remaining Mac clone vendor, lowered prices as much as 16 percent as the expiration of its license to the Macintosh operating system draws near.

Umax cut prices on a variety of systems, including the high-end S900. An S900 bundled with a 250-MHz PowerPC 750 upgrade card from Newer Technology is now priced at $2,395, a reduction of $400.

Since Umax is not permitted by Apple Computer to ship a system with the PowerPC 750 processor preinstalled, the company bundles the chip in the same box as the system.

Umax is the only vendor offering a PowerPC 750-based Mac with six expansion slots. Apple's popular G3 systems come with only three expansion slots. The ability to add in cards for a large number of peripherals is important to power users in the graphic arts, desktop publishing, and digital video markets.

S900 systems with a single 200- or 233-MHz PowerPC 604e processor were priced as high as $2,395 but have been reduced to the fire-sale cost of $1,595. A C500 with 240-MHz PowerPC 603e was priced at $1,195, and is now priced at $995, a reduction of 16 percent.

Umax has been limited from offering brand-new system designs ever since acting Apple CEO Steve Jobs reversed the company's position on licensing the Mac OS because, he has said, clones took away sales from Apple instead of increasing the overall size of the Mac market.

Umax's license for the Mac OS expires in July, although the company will be able to sell systems through the end of 1998. Beyond that, it seems as though Apple will not license the Mac OS or future versions of its operating system to Umax.

Sources close to Umax have said its shipments have risen along with Apple's in the last six months, but that has not caused Apple officials to change their stance on licensing. In the meanwhile, Umax has continued to expand its PC operations, most recently adding new notebooks to its product lineup.

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