Today in Apple history: Beginning of the end for clone Macs

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Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
Clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
Photo: Antnik

August 5: Today in Apple history: Beginning of the end for Power Computing Mac clones August 5, 1997: Apple gets into a standoff with Power Computing, a maker of Macintosh clones. It marks the beginning of the end for Apple’s mid-’90s strategy of licensing the Mac operating system.

“If the [Mac] platform goes closed, it is over,” predicts Power Computing CEO Joel J. Kocher of Apple’s strategy. “[It’s] total destruction. The kiss of death.” Of course, things don’t turn out exactly like that…

Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker peaks before a dizzying decline

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Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
Power Computing's clone Macs were built for speed.
Photo: Antnik

June 4: Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker Power Computing peaks, begins rapid decline June 4, 1997: Mac clone-maker Power Computing hits its high point — but it’s also the beginning of the end.

Power Computing’s boss reaches an agreement with Apple CEO Gil Amelio concerning the forthcoming Mac OS 8. The deal allows the company to start making moves toward an IPO as the fastest-growing PC company of the decade. Things don’t turn out quite so well!

Today in Apple history: Apple outwits clone-makers with Mac OS 8

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Mac OS 8 gave Apple a much-needed revenue boost.
More than just a system update, Mac OS 8 was a nasty surprise for clone-makers.
Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

March 8: Today in Apple history: Apple outwits clone-makers with Mac OS 8 March 8, 1997: Apple renames the forthcoming Mac OS 7.7 update, calling it “Mac OS 8.” It’s more than just a name change, though: It’s a sneaky sucker punch that ultimately knocks out Mac clones.

Unfortunately for Mac users, the updated operating system does not deliver the total top-to-bottom rewrite promised by Apple’s Project Copland. However, the renaming strategy turns out to be a brilliant (if underhanded) way of getting Apple out of terrible licensing deals.

Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker closes shop

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Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
Mac clones did not pan out for Power Computing.
Photo: Antnik

January 31: Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker Power Computing closes shop January 31, 1998: Mac clone-maker Power Computing goes out of business, having auctioned off its office supplies and computers.

Apple bought out Power Computing, once the fastest-growing PC company of the decade, the previous year. As a result, Power Computing shareholders receive Apple stock as a replacement. As it turns out, that may not have been a terrible deal.

Today in Apple history: Apple signs ‘clone Mac’ deal

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Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
This was the start of the clone Mac era.
Photo: Antnik

December 16: Today in Apple history: Apple signs clone Mac deal with Power Computing December 16, 1994: Apple Computer inks a licensing deal with Power Computing, allowing the company to produce Macintosh-compatible computers.

With falling market share, and longtime rival Microsoft steaming ahead thanks to its software-licensing strategy, Apple executives think the only way to compete is for Apple to hand over its operating system for third-party Macs.

Of course, it doesn’t turn out exactly like that…