SAN MATEO, California--Networking company Farallon Communications is working with
Intel to build a home networking product for Apple Macintosh computers,
executives from both companies said today.
The Mac-oriented product--due this spring--will allow consumers to use existing home telephone lines to connect their Macintoshes with other Macs and PCs.
The announcement came as Intel trotted out its first home networking
product for Windows-based PCs, which allows users to share Internet access,
printers, and files.
Farallon is using Intel's home
networking chip to build the product, said Ken Haase, Farallon's marketing
director. The company will make an official announcement in May to discuss
how the product will allow Macintoshes to share files with Windows-based
PCs, he said.
Farallon is also currently tracking wireless technology and is considering
building wireless home networking products for Macintosh users, Haase added.
Intel partnered with Farallon, because the giant chipmaker felt Mac support
was important for the home networking market to start booming, said Dan
Sweeney, general manager of Intel's Home Networking Operation. "There's a
lot of Mac users that have all Macs, or more importantly, Macs
and PCs, and we thought that was important for home networking to take
off," he said.
Yankee Group analyst Karuna Uppal
believes Farallon's product will be the first home networking product for
"It's an important step, because the Mac and Apple market has been ignored
thus far in terms of home networking," she said. "Everything's been so
Despite the smaller user base, home networking companies need to address
the Apple market to support Mac users. "With the new iMac, Apple's
experienced a resurgence, and it's an addressable market," Uppal said.
Apple executives have not expressed much interest in the home networking
market in the past, but Uppal believes Apple will take a good long look at
the niche. "They have never said much publicly about home networking, but
I'm sure they're considering it with the attention it's getting and
[Apple's] renewed popularity amongst consumers. It's a good time to step
in," she said.
3Com and Microsoft have partnered together to
build home networking products, joining a growing list of companies making the homeward push. While 3Com and Microsoft executives have
said they would consider Mac products in the future, they say Windows
products are their No. 1 priority.
Mac users historically had several ways to network their computers. Users
connected their PCs by using the AppleTalk language with Ethernet cards and
Ethernet crossover cables. Another way was using LocalTalk, Apple's
built-in networking standard, with standard serial cables strung between two Macs.
The new generation of home networking products, however, would eliminate the need for stringing wires throughout their home. Consumers can network their computers in different rooms by plugging them into already installed phone lines.