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PointCast cuts service for the Mac

PointCast, the push technology pioneer, is discontinuing service for the Apple Macintosh computer.

PointCast, the push technology pioneer, is discontinuing service for the Apple Macintosh, effective December 31.

"We're focusing our efforts on the PC [Windows-Intel] client because it represents almost 99 percent of our viewer base," a PointCast spokeswoman said. The company's Mac viewer base is about 1.5 percent, she said.

PointCast notified its affiliate partners of the decision this week. It did not make a public announcement.

"We felt that our Mac product was substandard compared to our PC product because we just couldn't invest the time and development resources to make it what the PC product was," said the PointCast spokeswoman.

Jason Douglas, vice president of product and content programming at PointCast, echoed that statement. "We are a small private company and since Mac accounted for less than two percent of our viewership, it was a straight mathematics business decision to cut that service," he said.

This is not the first instance of a company cutting the Mac from its services. In one prominent case, Wells Fargo Bank said it would drop Mac support but reinstated it after a large user outcry. Specifically, in July Wells Fargo retracted a plan to discontinue its online banking service for the Mac version of Quicken, Intuit's personal finance software.

"It's fair to say that PointCast did not have much to gain from Apple as a market target," said Mark Specker, an analyst at SoundView Financial Group. "Another strike against Apple is that it is not heavily used in corporate market--and that is the market PointCast is trying to reach."

PointCast said it had no plans going into next year to re-institute service--even if there were an effort by Mac users to revive the service.

But Apple Computer said that they were not likely to lead a charge to bring PointCast back, since its own data shows that its customers are not interested in the push-technology company's offerings.

"We used to bundle PointCast with Mac OS but basically stopped that last year due to a lack of customer interest," said Apple spokesman Russell Brady. "We don't think this [discontinuation] is a huge deal for Mac users."

One Mac user wasn't surprised that PointCast pulled the plug. "That's because their Mac product is so unstable and bug-filled that anyone with a mission-critical machine cannot run PointCast." He added, "If this were not true, I and the other 40-plus people my current client employs would be running PointCast."

Starting December 1, users will no longer be able to download the Mac client software from PointCast's Web site. The company will discontinue service and broadcasts on December 31.

The decision comes as Apple is enjoying a resurgence, through the sale of its Internet-centric iMac computers.

"PointCast cutting its service for Mac doesn't reflect on Apple," said Daniel Kunstler, an analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities. "I would wonder more at what is going on at PointCast."

PointCast is seeking a strategic partner after canceling its initial public offering earlier this year.