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Vendors prepare Wintel-based iMac rip-offs

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It has barely been selling for a month but already Apple's iMac is spawning imitators. US newswire news.com quoted an analyst from US investment bank Piper Jaffrey who claimed Korean manufacturers TriGem and Korean Data Systems had teamed up to form a joint venture, called E-Machines, to produce a $599 iMac-style PC. The as yet unnamed iMac rip-off will offer a 333MHz Intel Celeron CPU, 32MB RAM, 3.2GB hard disk, 56Kbps modem and 14in monitor all squeezed into a designer all-in-one case. Unlike the iMac, said Piper Jaffrey's Ashok Kumar, the E-Machines box would ship with a built-in floppy drive and be "fully upgradeable". He added it would ship in the first quarter of 1999. The emergence of E-machines' plans came hot on the heels of Intel CEO Craig Barrett's demonstration of his company's prototype consumer PC/information appliances at the Intel Developer Forum in Palm Springs, California. Barrett showed a series of industrially-designed machines based on a 500-MHz Katmai processor, 128MB of memory and four USB ports. Industrial design has always been an Apple USP. Intel's efforts are certainly more serious than E-Machines', which -- assuming it exists at all -- first has to deal with the fact that E-Machines has already been nabbed as brandname. Monitor specialist Radius had it for a while, thanks to its acquisition of monitor maker SuperMac, which itself bought E-Machines -- yet another monitor vendor -- back in the early 90s. SuperMac was later sold to Taiwanese scanner specialist Umax, which obtained its MacOS cloning licence through the deal, so maybe it has a claim on the name too. ®

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