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Lagging sales prompt Apple to stop making Power Cube

SHARE Lagging sales prompt Apple to stop making Power Cube

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple Computer Inc. said Tuesday it will suspend indefinitely production of the Power Mac G4 Cube.

The company said there is a small chance it will reintroduce an upgraded model of the computer in the future but that there are no plans to do so at the moment.

"Cube owners love their Cubes, but most customers decided to buy our powerful Power Mac G4 minitowers instead," said Philip Schiller, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

Apple first introduced the snazzy-looking Mac Cube last year, but product sales were hurt by its steep price and public perceptions the computer — which featured a 450-megahertz chip — was much slower than competing systems.

The Cube was introduced at a price of $1,799; the price was cut to $1,499 in January. With matching flat-panel displays, consumers were paying more than $2,500 for the package.

Customers also complained of cracks in its plastic case and misaligned switches that caused the machine to turn off unexpectedly.

The company introduced a new Cube model with a pre-installed rewritable CD drive in February, but it's unclear if sales improved afterward.

The Cupertino-based computer maker refused to give sales figures or other details Tuesday.

Previously, however, the company told analysts it had sold 12,000 units in the fiscal quarter ended in March, down from 29,000 units the previous quarter, and bringing its lifetime total to 148,000 units.

"It's unfortunate because it is a truly beautiful product — it won countless design awards," said Andrew Scott, a research associate with Needham & Company Inc. "But it was targeting a niche market, and the niche turned out to be a lot smaller than the company had anticipated."

Chris Le Tocq, analyst with Guernsey Research, said the Cube simply wasn't marketed correctly.

"It was positioned as a computer with style for the consumer but the price point was too high," he said.