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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Apple Japan Converts Windows Users to iMac at Rapid Rate
  • October 20, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Apple Japan Inc. President Eikou Harada said his company is converting Windows users to its new iMac at a rapid rate.
    So far, 14 percent of iMac purchasers in Japan are Windows converts. The number of users who have switched from Windows machines to the iMac in Japan surpasses the average of such converts in the world.

    Harada made his remarks at a press conference held in Tokyo on Oct. 15. At the same time, the company introduced Apple's new Mac OS 8.5 operating system.

    According to Harada, iMac, an all-in-one personal computer introduced into the Japanese market at the end of August, has sold 40,000 sets, including 10,000 sets the day it debuted.

    He said the 14 percent convert rate in Japan is high compared to the global average of 12.5 percent.

    Harada also commented on the business results for fiscal year 1998 ended September 1998 that were announced by Apple's U.S. headquarters on Oct. 14, Japan time.

    "Downsizing of inventories, such as improving inventory turnover. led us to better performance," said Harada of the company's ability to stay in the black throughout 1998, the first time it has done so in three years.

    The costs of inventories Apple has around the world underwent a radical improvement from US$400 million in the first quarter of fiscal 1998 to US$250 million in the second quarter and US$129 million in the third quarter. Finally, it plunged to US$78 million in the last quarter.

    In parallel, inventory turnover went up from four times through fiscal 1997 to 61 times by the final quarter of fiscal 1998. The latest efficiency indicates that Apple is keeping inventories only for six days. Harada boasted that Apple's supply system of products is surmounting that of Dell Computer Corp.

    While keeping the accounts of his Japanese operation confidential, Harada disclosed that the Japanese company is following the trend of the U.S. headquarters.

    Mac OS 8.5, which was released simultaneously on world markets, sells for 13,800 yen (US$120) in Japan. While providing no upgrade path, the company set the price of the new OS much lower than its former versions.

    For all iMac users and customers who bought a Mac computer on and after Sept. 15, 1998, Apple is offering a "Mac OS 8.5 Up to Date Program" to get Mac OS 8.5 for 2,500 yen (US$22).

    Apple also resumed a setup of multiple licensing of the Mac OS 8.5 to meet strong demand from large-scale users.

    Related stories:
    iMac Stimulates Japan PC Sales in 4th Week of August
    Availability of Apple's iMac Increases at PC Stores

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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    Updated: Mon Oct 19 17:47:41 1998 PDT