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Apple Turns Cold Shoulder Towards ATI at Macworld

By Kasper Jade (Kasper@AppleInsider.com)

July 19, 2000

    You could almost feel the sadness by glancing at the faces of the numerous ATI employees staffing the company's conference room at Macworld Expo New York. According to reliable sources, a recent mishap has left the graphics chip supplier in a tub of hot water with OEM partner, Apple Computer.

    On Monday, a message posted from an ati.com company address appeared on BusinessWire, detailing the company's plans product plans for Macworld. Under normal circumstances, this would not pose as a problem. However, the published blurb provided advanced information on Apple hardware products to be announced at the expo.

    "ATI plans a surprise announcement on July 19," the messages stated, in part. "In a keynote, wait for Apple to announce three new systems with ATI graphics in them. One will be an iMac with the RAGE 4XL chip, the remaining two are PowerMacs which will ship with RAGE 128 PRO standard and RADEON."

    This blurb was apparently enough to send Apple cofounder and CEO, Steve Jobs, through the roof. As a result, source said, Mr. Jobs ripped all mention of ATI and their products from his keynote presentation this morning. Apple's introduction of new Power Mac G4 systems went without mention of the graphics chip that would ship inside, and the same was the case for the company's new iMacs and Power Mac G4 Cube.

    "Oh, you've got it now too...," one ATI staffer commented uneasily to AppleInsider correspondents who asked for confirmation on Apple's rumored retaliation. "So we take that as a confirmation?," an AppleInsider editor then asked, as the complexion slowly faded from the faces of two ATI employees. "We really cannot comment on that," they then stated reluctantly.

    "I bet ATI won't have the chance to make that mistake again," one Apple Employee said Tuesday afternoon when asked if Apple was angered by the company's slip-up on BusinessWire.

    This is not the first time the two companies are rumored to have engaged in a spat. About this time last year, it was stated by multiple sources that Steve Jobs, displeased with the quality of the ATI drivers being developed for the Macintosh, began contacting other graphics chip suppliers -- such as nVidia -- to talk about replacing ATI as Apple's graphic chip supplier.

    Since neither Apple nor ATI were willing to comment on the issue, it is unclear whether the advance information leak may have cost ATI their largest account. But judging from the information circulating through industry insiders, the two companies have some patching up to do before the retail launch of Apple's Power Mac G4 Cube in August, which was previously scheduled to ship with new ATI cards featuring the company's new RADEON technology.

    ATI is currently the world leader in graphics acceleration (sales) for both the PC and Macintosh.

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