APPLE EASES IN POWER MAC

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Apple Computer today unveils Power Macintosh, its most critical product introduction in 10 years, with surprisingly limited U.S. advertising: an eight-page insert in The Wall Street Journal.

After that ad, Apple will go dark on Power Mac till next week, when a multimillion-dollar campaign moves into computer publications and business titles (AA, March 7).

The campaign, from BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles, targets "fence sitters" who have considered Mac but instead chose other personal computer brands.

The Power Mac line starts at $1,819, hundreds below PCs running Intel Corp.'s rival Pentium chip, a move sure to escalate PC price wars.

Apple is doing more extensive advertising abroad, including its first pan-Latin American print campaign, with BBDO, Los Angeles, as lead agency. In Europe, the company is running both print and TV from BBDO and CLM/BBDO, Paris. In the U.S., TV will be phased in later this year.

Sales of Power Mac-the first machine to use the PowerPC chip developed by Apple, IBM Corp. and Motorola-are unlikely to take off till Power Mac software arrives in coming months. Power Mac can run old Mac, Windows and MS-DOS software.

But Power Mac software is "the real reason to buy," said Chris Wall, BBDO senior VP-worldwide creative director.

Apple expects to sell about 1 million Power Macs worldwide in the next 12 months, as much as a third of its total sales.

Apple is betting the new technology will boost its worldwide PC market share by 5 percentage points in the next three to five years from its current share of about 10%.

Power Mac's real fight will come late this year when Pentium-based PCs start appearing with Microsoft Corp.'s new generation of Windows operating software.

Rivals say Apple could lose business as it phases in new technology. Apple is "walking across the valley of death," said Curt Nichols, Pentium product marketing director. "We think this is a killer opportunity to gain market share."

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