While Apple's travails and the absence of big-name PC vendors in the Mac OS market have caused some observers to question the viability of the business, Ascot, Berks.-based IMC says it can't get enough of the Umax Data Systems-made units it distributes.
IMC claims it is selling hundreds of Umax units per month and is only just ramping up, in line with Umax manufacturing. The firm is one of a trio selling Mac clones - or Mac OS computers as makers prefer them to be known - in the UK, the others being Power Computing (distributed through Computer Warehouse) and Daystar (distributed through Computers Unlimited)
"We found the market to be very receptive to having an alternative to Apple but there was a lack of confidence about going with another company, especially one that was virtually unknown in the UK," said Graham Mulcock, project manager at IMC.
"Luckily, Umax is a very strong brand in this country thanks to the scanners. They're part of the PowerPC Platform and the Taiwan NewPC Consortium, so they're right in the thick of it. Every shipment we've brought in has been pre-sold. The Umax main production plant is only now gearing up. They've been taking it fairly steady and so have we. It's a new business and you don't want to jump in with both feet."
Mulcock said that although most sales have been to traditional Mac dealers, IMC plans to move more stock to PC dealers and corporates. He also claims to be looking forward to bigger names joining in the Mac clone market. "It will be good for the market and we want to see the market grow quickly. As with PCs when cloning started, some firms will get crushed but there will also be Compaqs. We're very much following the Compaq model."
Umax has just released the Pulsar 1500, the first of a new line of high-specification models. The 150MHz PowerPC 604-based system will sell for about £3,095 + VAT on the street with 512Kb of Level 2 cache, 16Mb RAM (upgradable to 1024 Mb), 2Gb SCSI hard disk, 6.7-speed SCSI CD-ROM drive, Ethernet, 16-bit sound and 128-bit graphics with 2Mb video RAM.