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Backlash among Mac faithful

The Mac faithful are mad as hell, and they're not going to buy it anymore.

The Mac faithful are mad as hell, and they're not going to buy it anymore.

That's the message Macintosh users are posting to Internet newsgroups after Mac merger Apple's announcement that it has acquired key assets of Mac clone maker Power Computing for $100 million. Reaction to the deal has been overwhelmingly negative on the Internet among Apple's beleagured constituency.

And that constituency is threatening to retaliate by abandoning the Macintosh altogether, whether it be an Apple or a clone.

"The news about Power makes it easy for me and thousands of other Mac fans to support other platforms that remains open," wrote one newsgroup participant. "I will not buy any Macintosh product now. I've been on the fence for a while. This news makes it real easy to shop elsewhere...I know of many professional organizations that switched to Power Computing products...Boy are they going to be pissed. Hello Wintel!"

In an open letter to Apple, one newsgroup member described the deal as "one of the most colossal mistakes in the history of American business. If the clones disappear, then [Apple] will leave me no choice but to migrate to the Windows platform and to urge my colleagues to do the same."

This threat resounded throughout various newsgroups, as participants described the squelching of the largest clone maker as a crushing blow to their support of Apple and the Mac platform.

"Personally, I can't see Apple as a real option anymore," wrote another outraged participant. "I'm moving ALL my stuff over to WINTEL...At least I know I won't be stuck with unsupported machine. How can I believe Apple will support a machine I buy, when it's breaking promises to what were corporate partners...Mac-compatible system-level hardware is becoming nothing more than a dead end."

Many Mac users questioned the deal's place in Apple's overall strategy, recounting previous grievances and claiming that without competition from Power, Apple would fail to improve performance or keep prices low.

"This is the lamest thing I've ever heard," fumed one newsgroup participant. "Apple sets up a licensee to produce Mac-compatible systems, but when they are too successful pays them $100 million to go away. Apple has been blasting away at its feet for so long...they must be up to their knees by now."

"Apple has a great industrial design," another wrote. "Unfortunately, it takes more than ID to save a product line...Today, computing means open standards and competition. Goodbye Apple, hello Dell."

Newsgroups devoted to Power Computing customers were equally opposed to the deal, expressing pessimism that Apple would deliver the speed, performance, and price they said brought them to the clone maker in the first place.

One participant quoted Steve Jobs, who said in a statement, "We look forward to learning from [Power Computing's] experience and welcoming their customers back into the Apple family.

"Steve, don't hold your breath," this user wrote. "You can 'look forward' all you want, but while any of us have a choice, it WON'T be Apple."

But the thrashing Apple has suffered in the newsgroups may not be completely representative of Mac users' opinions. Several readers wrote to CNET's NEWS.COM in defense of the acquisition.

"I welcome the news," one wrote. "I bought one Power Computing machine last year and it was the worst purchase of Mac hardware I ever handled...I think Power's customers can only be better served by the deal."

Another reader pointed out that the exit of Power Computing from the ranks of clone makers still leaves Motorola and Umax to provide Mac faithful with choice. "Switching to Wintel platform is a very stupid thing for Mac users to do," this reader wrote. "Windows 95 will not satisfy their needs."

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