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Power Computing goes with Intel

Watch out, Dell. Another Texas computer company in wants to build Intel-based clones.

Watch out, Dell. Another computer company in the Lone Star State wants to build Intel-based clones.

Power Computing is the Mac clone maker best known for its audacious "Fight Back for the Mac" marketing campaigns. But in SEC filings for an initial public offering today, the company announced its intention to introduce desktop, notebook, and server computers that use Intel processors and the Windows operating system by the first half of next year.

The Round Rock, Texas, company said it still intends to "aggressively continue to pursue its Macintosh-compatible business," but as reported in March by CNET'S NEWS.COM, the company has been longing to test its mettle in the market for Windows-based computers.

"The company plans to offer selected Wintel desktop and portable computer systems with some features and functions the company believes are not currently available from other manufacturers of Wintel computer systems," Power Computing said in its SEC filing. "In addition, the company is developing Microsoft Windows NT-based server products that will jointly support Macintosh and Wintel connectivity."

Power Computing says it will continue to market both Macintosh and Windows-compatible systems through direct sales to customers, which includes purchases through its Web site. The advantage of having both Windows and Mac clones is that the company will be able to sell and support customers of both platforms from a single source, according to the documents.

Not only will Power Computing expand its presence by offering a wider array of new systems, but the company is also looking to expand into international markets and into territory once held solely by Apple Computer (AAPL).

"There are probably quite a few [companies] that have Windows and Mac systems. For problems with Windows, they go to one vendor, and for Mac problems, they go to Apple probably. But on integration [of Macintosh and Windows systems], no one steps up to do both, and these guys are going to be able to do that," says Kimball Brown, an analyst with market research firm Dataquest.

"They've been doing well in the Mac market, but they have to jump into the Windows market to keep growing. They've been able to bring on good management that know how to do this game, including some people from Dell, so I think they are in pretty good shape," Brown said.

Later today, Power Computing is expected to announce that it will begin to seriously target the education market, which the company has generally avoided out of out of deference to Apple, by allying itself with Apple's largest education dealer.

Education Access, the largest Apple education dealer in the country and one with operations in close to 25 states, is expected to withdraw its allegience to Apple and instead become an education computer dealer for Power Computing.

The relationship between Education Access and Apple began to sour earlier this year when Apple declined to approve Education's acquisition of two other computer dealers.

The education market has long been the crown jewel in Apple's overall sales.