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Apple offers rebates to schools

Apple Computer finishes off a spate of price cuts with the news it will extend a rebate program to include sales to higher education customers.

Apple Computer (AAPL) finished off a spate of price cuts today with the news it will extend a rebate program to include sales to higher education customers.

Apple said that qualified customers at colleges and universities who purchase systems between October 31 and January 31, 1998 will get a rebate

Apple rebates
Product Amount
Power Macintosh
12/640 PS
12/640 PS Plus
Color 12/660
of up to $300 on certain Power Macintosh systems and up to $500 on selected peripherals as part of its "Add-on Take-off" promotional campaign.

Earlier this month, Apple cut prices on notebooks and offered the same program to consumer and business customers. (See related story)

The program includes the Power Macintosh 8600/250 or 8600/300 systems and any Power Macintosh 6500-series system. When customers purchase a LaserWriter printer in conjunction with a qualifying system, they can receive an additional rebate on the purchase price of the printer. For example, a Color LaserWriter 12/660 when purchased separately has a $250 rebate, but when purchased with a new system, has a $500 rebate.

Other peripherals in the rebate program include the QuickTake 200 digital camera (maximum $150 rebate), a color scanner (maximum $150 rebate), and a TV tuner.

The latest move is intended to shore up interest in Apple systems in a market that is expected to reach $5.2 billion in the 1997-98 school year, up from $4.3 billion in the 1996-97 school year, according to a study by the research firm Quality Education Data.

QED research found that the Macintosh platform constituted 56 percent of the projected hardware purchases for the 1996-1997 school year, down from 61 percent for the three previous years. Projected purchases of DOS-based and Windows-based computers, on the other hand, increased from 37 to 40 percent.

"The rebates are intended to encourage people not to defect to Wintel boxes," says Charles Smulders, an analyst with Dataquest. "Wintel" refers to computers that use the Windows operating system and Intel processors. "It is fairly common. Companies are trying to drive demand," he adds.

Apple will continue to push other systems to the education markets as well, including the eMate 300, which the company says is a key product that will strengthen its appeal in the education market. Reflecting this attitude, Apple brought the Newton division back into the corporate fold in early September, after initially spinning Newton out as an independent subsidiary with its own management and business plan in July of this year.

By next year, Apple is expected to roll out NCs (network computers) for the education market which use the new low-power, high-performance PowerPC 750 chip. Apple's target pricing for clients is reportedly in the $700 to $800 range, which is about the same price as the current eMate.

Initially, one likely configuration would be NCs running a version of the Mac OS connected to server computers running Apple's next-generation operating system, code-named Rhapsody.