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November 9, 1994

APPLE WILL OFFER SHRINKWRAPPED MAC OS AS A RETAIL PRODUCT

By CBR Staff Writer

There is a material development in the PowerPC camp, but it didn’t come out at the press conference and it makes the question of whether and to whom Apple Computer Inc will license Mac OS a non-event and not an issue. Late yesterday, Jim Gable, Power Macintosh Line Manager told our on-line affiliate publication PowerPC News that once the new open PowerPC design is out in the latter half of next year, Apple will offer Mac OS as a shrinkwrapped retail product, so that any user will be able to buy a compliant machine from any vendor and go out and buy Mac OS to load and go on it. Any licensing issue will arise only where a manufacturer wants to pre-load Mac OS – but Microsoft Corp must have sold 40m or 50m copies of Windows before any vendor thought of preloading the thing. That is how Jim Gable put it, and there did seem to be a little weasel question that remained unanswered: will the new standard include Apple’s Macintosh ROMs, or will those be an optional extra? If the latter, then other manufacturers would have to license, or buy OEM, the ROMs, and that would mean that any machine built to the new standard wouldn’t be Macintosh-compatible, so we went back to Gable, who insisted that the Mac ROMs were indeed part of the standard, a statement that turns the question of whether IBM will be licensing Mac OS or not into a non-issue. The fact that a standard is on the way also seems to mean there will be no market at all for early model IBM Power Personals.

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