The rise and fall of Mac clones

The August 1998 issue of MacFormat UK has a nice table with a timeline detailing the circa four-year interval when Mac OS was actually licensed to third-party manufacturers. I’m posting this as a sort of personal digital backup, more than anything. Anyway, I didn’t remember the clone period to have lasted so long. That’s why history is useful.

December 1994
Apple announces first Mac OS licence, awarded to Power Computing.

January 1995
Radius shows VideoVision Workstation prototype in public. DayStar Digital to make multi-processing Genesis MP.

February 1995
Pioneer announces desktop Macs for Japan.

April 1995
Power Computing is the first firm to offer clones for sale in US.

August 1995
Radius is first to offer clones for sale in UK.

September 1995
Parts shortages said to be restricting further licensees from signing up.

November 1995
Umax announces desktop Macs. CHRP (Common Hardware Reference Platform) officially launched; firms planning machines include Apple, IBM, Motorola, Power Computing and Umax.

February 1996
Motorola acquires sub-licensing rights and announces desktop Macs. Gil Amelio becomes Apple’s CEO. Research indicates that clones account for 10% of US Mac sales.

April 1996
Apple announces biggest-ever quarterly loss of $740 million.

May 1996
IBM acquires sub-licensing rights.

September 1996
Akia announces desktop and portable Macs in Japan.

November 1996
Spring launches announced for CHRP machines from Motorola and Umax.

December 1996
Apple’s purchase of NeXT Software returns Steve Jobs to Apple.

March 1997
Computer Warehouse launches desktop Mac range in UK. Vertegri Research announces portable Macs for US.

April 1997
Apple announces quarterly loss of $708 million. MacFormat 50’s round-up shows that 50 Mac models are on sale in UK.

June 1997
Research indicates that clones account for 25% of US Mac sales. CHRP machines now due for autumn; Motorola’s StarMax Pro 6000 announced. Motorola claims licence extensions agreed in principle.

July 1997
Gil Amelio… er, resigns; Steve Jobs adopts more prominent role.

August 1997
Apple buys back Power Computing’s Mac licence. Motorola postpones StarMax 6000 launch as licence discussions heat up.

October 1997
Licence talks fall apart; Motorola withdraws from Mac market and ends sub-licensing. IBM ends sub-licensing. Umax granted six-month extension.

December 1997
Motorola, Power Computing licences expire; all machines are sold out.

June 1998
Umax licence expires; other firms’ stocks dwindling.

Other licensees included Gravis and US dealers APS Technologies, MacTell and PowerTools.

The Macs we never saw: firms which announced licenses but never produced machines include Acorn, Datatech, Everex, Redbox, Sonnet, Soyo and Tatung.

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