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Apple settles with iMac ‘cloner’

Paves way for colourful, all-in-one WIndows PCs - and no more colourful, all-in-one iMacs?

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Apple and iMac-alike PC maker Future Power have finally settled their long-running trade dress dispute.

Under the terms of the settlement, Future Power will be able to produce an all-in-one box with an integrated 17in screen, called the AIO. Apple may be happy with that, but we can't see Sony letting it stand.

As for the 15in all-in-one PC that provoked Apple's wrath back in the summer of 1999, called the ePower, Future Power can now bring it to market at any time after 1 February 2004, though why Apple has insisted on such a specific date is anyone's guess.

Apple sued Future Power in the US in July 1999, and was granted a preliminary injunction against the Future Power machine the following November. Future Power appealed against the preliminary injunction.

The settlement, announced yesterday, will ensure the case does not come to court.

Apple alleged that Future Power's translucent blue and white PC was a rip-off of its translucent blue and white iMac. It made similar allegations against PC maker eMachines and its eOne computer.

Actually, we're surprised that Apple has effectively given the go-ahead for the multi-colour AIO, particularly after all its righteous indignation of 1999. Could it be that it no longer sees the all-in-one CRT format as central to the iMac ethos? If you take as fact the hints that it's working on an LCD-based iMac for a summer 2001 launch, you could well see why it's no longer worried about AIO-style machines. ®

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