PowerCurve Mac clones debut

At Macworld earlier today, Apple Computer licensee Power Computing unveiled a new line of PowerCurve PCs based on the PowerPC 601 microprocessor.

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SAN FRANCISCO--Power Computing today unveiled at the Macworld Expo its new PowerCurve line of Mac-compatible personal computers. Based on the PowerPC 601 chip, the new systems are aimed at home users and small business customers. The systems use the 120-MHz version of the PowerPC microprocessor developed by Apple, IBM, and Motorola. Pricing for the new systems will range from $1,899 to about $5,000, officials said.

The entry-level PowerCurve 601/120 will come with 8MB of RAM, an 840MB hard drive, and a software bundle that includes Claris Works, Quicken, and SoftWindows 2.0.

To entice prospective customers, Power Computing will offer customized versions of the PowerCurve systems. "Apple has never had a build-to-order option, and we think this option will keep the market going," said Jon Fitch, vice president of engineering for Power Computing.

In the face of dwindling market share, Apple and Power are struggling to woo new users to the Macintosh platform. But it might be too little, too late. "People don't even want to buy Apple computers anymore, so why would they buy clones?" commented James Yarrow, an IS manager with the Orange County Register. "People are nervous about Apple, and I don't think they're going to survive."

Later this month, Power will offer the PowerCurve PCs bundled with Microsoft Office. "We are the first Mac OS vendor to offer the best application for office environments," said Stephen Kahng, president and CEO of Power.

Microsoft officials emphasized the company's continuing interest in the Macintosh market. "Macintosh is good business for us. You wouldn't see Bill Gates make an investment in Macintoshes unless there was money to be made," said Dave Meltzer, director of business applications for Microsoft.