THE first Macintosh computer clones could be ready for sale this spring.
Power Computing Corporation, a start-up firm backed by the Italian company Olivetti, has reached the first agreement with Apple Computer Inc., to license Mac OS, the Macintosh's highly regarded operating system.
After years of keeping its technology to itself, Apple said this fall it would allow other companies to clone its computers.
The move is intended to help Apple increase its modest share of the personal-computer market.
Power Computing said Wednesday it plans to sell Macintosh clones under its own name, as well as logic boards and other components. Financial terms of the licensing agreement have not been disclosed.
Apple introduced the Macintosh nearly 11 years ago and depended on its simplicity to win customers, despite its incompatibility with International Business Machine-type machines and a higher price.
But Microsoft Corporation's Windows software program has made IBM clones as easy to use as Macs, and Apple has been unable to capture more than 15 percent of the United States personal- computer market.