Apple Computer's (AAPL)
new operating system, which debuted today, is not getting into the hands of everybody wanting a copy.
Namely, Mac clone vendors have yet to receive their copies to ship to customers and were conspicuously absent from a series of OS 8-related announcements today.
While Apple is expected to ship the new OS to retail
customers on time for sales beginning this Saturday, none of the Mac clone
vendors have indicated they've signed agreements to license the
Apple confirmed today its failure to strike a deal with clone
vendors. No agreements have been signed, said Guerrino De Luca, a vice president at Apple.
Clone vendors are key to the success of the Mac, as evidenced by
their ability to take an increasingly larger share of the market.
But sources at the various clone vendors report that they are still in the
midst of drawing up agreements.
The Mac OS 8 is an important release for clone vendors since it is part and
parcel of the Common Hardware Reference Platform (CHRP), also referred
to as the PowerPC Reference Platform. Mac OS 8 and CHRP-compliant
hardware are key technologies that will allow Mac clone vendors to enhance
system performance and introduce new products more rapidly.
Ideally, it is also supposed to let Mac clone vendors compete more
freely, with fewer licensing and technical ties to Apple, though this may
not happen to the degree that some clone makers had hoped for.
Power Computing indicated in
documentation filed with its initial public offering to the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has continued to negotiate
with Apple to use the Macintosh OS, but to no avail.
As a fallback, the clone maker is also sublicensing the OS from
IBM, a fact also revealed in the
filing. The company signed this agreement with IBM about six months ago, according to sources
close to IBM.
"The company's license agreement with IBM is more favorable than the Mac OS
agreement [with Apple] in certain respects, and the company is increasingly
relying on this agreement for its rights to the Mac OS," according to the
Motorola has also stated in no uncertain
terms that to its consternation negotiations have not gone well. At one
point the company walked away from talks, angered at Apple?s stance.
"The risk of a week gone by gets bigger every day," said Dennis Schneider,
vice president and general manager of Motorola Computer Group's commercial
products division, in a statement made last month.
Delays in licensing the OS could result in Motorola having to delay
introduction of products with new 603 and 604 PowerPC chips as well as
next-generation PowerPC chips, Schneider added. "We have manufacturing
capacity and parts suppliers committed to products," he said.