Apple Cloners: Partners Or `Parasites'?

Apple's talk of hiking cloners' fees alarms needed allies

Given the steady decline in Apple Computer Inc.'s fortunes, you would think it would do everything it can to hold on to allies. Among the most steadfast have been the companies that have built businesses around Mac clones. In recent months, it has been their machines--not Apple's--that have slowed the Mac's market-share slide. But Apple management, always ambivalent about the clone strategy, has been considering a big hike in licensing fees that would make cloners less competitive. "The cloners are just parasites," a top Apple official said in a Mar. 4 interview. "They're just sucking the blood out of the market. I'm all for licensing, but get a reasonable amount of money."

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