Apple Ropes in a Clone

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CUPERTINO, Calif.: Effectively splashing out two-thirds of its pocket money from Microsoft, Apple Computer has snapped up one of the leading producers of Macintosh clones. Their $100 million stock purchase of Power Computing Corp, coming hot on the heels of Bill Gates' $150 million investment in Apple, may seem rather quixotic given that the company's share of the overall computer market has been squeezed to under 5 percent by cheap PCs. "They could buy up all their competitors, and still not make any progress," says TIME's computer industry analyst David Jackson. "It's like bringing your uncle back into the family. He's already in the family. The problem is you need to bring in other people. You need to bring in non-Mac users."

Apple isn't listening, though: It plans to shut down Power Computing's operation by the end of the year, and is already targeting other clone-makers such as Motorola and UMAX by imposing higher licensing fees for the Mac Operating System. Why so hard on the clones? Acting chairman Steve Jobs, whose dislike of the clone licensing system set up in 1994 is no great secret, would probably describe the move as consolidation buying back a large share of the Mac market. But coming at a time when the Mac market itself is shrinking, today's move resembles nothing so much as tilting at windmills.