New iMac clone hits PC market

Apple Computer Inc. may have another suit on its hands.

Three weeks after the maker of the iMac brought a lawsuit against PC maker Future Power and Korean conglomerate Daewoo Telecom for producing an iMac look-alike, another mimic has popped up in Japan -- seemingly manufactured by low-cost PC leader eMachines Inc.

Called the e-one, the new computer has the trademark (not in the legal sense) transparent blue and white exterior of the iMac and a similar shape.

Inside the machine is all PC, however. Sporting a 433MHz Celeron processor, 64 MB of memory, an 8.4GB hard drive and a 56.6Kbps modem, the computer is a relative powerhouse at a price of 128,000 yen (about £652).

While the Japanese computer is sold by Japan-based Sotec Co. Ltd., the computer's name and the use of the eMachines logo hints that the actual maker is the low-cost PC maker. eMachines did not respond to requests for an interview by press time.

However, last November at Comdex, Steve Dukker, president and CEO, talked extensively about an iMac clone scheduled for May of this year. According to Japanese reports, the computer was slated to be released simultaneously in Japan and the U.S.

It seems the schedule slipped. Or, perhaps, the impending Future Power lawsuit has quashed eMachines U.S. plans.