March 8, 1997: System 7.7 Renamed Mac OS 8.0

by Chris Seibold Mar 09, 2009

When Gil Amelio was running the show at Apple, Mac clones were seen as something that would help Apple grow market share. When Steve Jobs replaced the good Dr., the clones fell out of favor. Instead of a vehicle to increase Apple's slice of the computing pie clones were suddenly regarded, at least by Steve, as "leeches."

Actual leeches might have a significant role to play in certain medical procedures but when the metaphorical variety is sucking off profits they've got to go. The problem was that Apple had signed contracts agreeing to allow clone makers to use the Mac OS as long as they were shipping system 7.x.

Realizing that the difference between system 7.x and system 8.0 was largely confined to the identifying numerals, Apple renamed what was planned as system 7.7 to system 8.0, thereby voiding several contracts with the mere addition of three tenths of a release. Thanks to Apple's about-face on the subject of clones, the clone makers had to find new things to do once system 7 became system 8, this month in 1998.


  • Nope.  You’re wrong guys!!  Mac OS 8 was announced and released in 1997 NOT 1998.  Check your facts!

    appleiscool had this to say on Mar 08, 2006 Posts: 10
  • Nice to see that someone else recalls this arguably underhanded and unethical little switcheroo Apple pulled.  However, not all Mac Clone makers were immediately affected.

    Umax successfully negotiated a Mac OS 8 license, and shipped machines for more than a year with Mac OS 8.0 before ending production and new sales in the fall of ‘98.

    The last new Umax machine, the SuperMac J710, was actually to ship with Mac OS 8 in the spring of ‘98, but was killed by a different issue:  although Umax could ship Mac OS 8 with previously licensed and certified models (all PPC603x- and 604x-based), Apple would not certify any new (G3-based) hardware from any clone maker.  The J710 died, and the <50 units produced went home with Umax employees, their friends, and family.

    For a while, Umax got around the G3 cut-off by literally strapping Newer Tech G3 upgrade cards to the outside of S900 boxes, and later developed their own G3 upgrades in-house which were intended to ship in the box.  So as not to raise Apple’s ire, the J710 was shown at Macworld SF ‘98 running on a 250MHz 604e, though Umax’s own 250MHz G3 card was already good to go.  (Questions at the show about which processor the J710 would actually ship with were gracelessly evaded.)

    Homeworld had this to say on Mar 08, 2007 Posts: 3
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