In an effort to assuage customers nervous about its commitment to the Macintosh platform, Avid Technology (Tewksbury, MA) is offering several new Mac-based products, price breaks, and other initiatives for its Media Composer and Avid Xpress line.
The new initiatives include price reductions for upgrades and new system purchases of most Mac-based Media Composer models; a new model of the Media Composer for the Mac, called the "Millenium Edition;" a new release of Avid Xpress for the Mac and creation of a new business unit dedicated to developing new Mac-based editing products.
One program that could cause some controversy among current Mac users is a "Customer Choice" program which allows any owner of a Mac-based Media Composer XL system the option to convert to the equivalent NT-based Media Composer XL system for only $12,000 within twelve months of purchase.
Avid's increasing emphasis on new NT-based products has been a cause of concern among Mac users. Avid got its start developing video editing platforms for the Mac, but its NT initiatives picked up steam last year when it introduced its high-end Symphony uncompressed NLE system exclusively for NT. Rumors began surfacing earlier this year that Avid was considering dropping its support for the Mac. The concerns were enough to prompt the company to respond in a public letter in April re-affirming its commitment to the Mac.
"We have an installed base of over 25,000 Mac-based editing systems and we remain committed to these systems," wrote Paul Henderson, Avid's vice president for product marketing.
That said, however, Henderson stressed that "many of our customers have been asking for Windows NT solutions and segments of the market have been moving that way for some time."
Price reductions of up to 50%
Also in response to concerns over potentially expensive upgrades among Mac users, Avid is reducing prices on its new ABVB (Avid Broadcast Video Board) system purchases by as much as 50% for customers who wish to remain on the ABVB platform. For example, the cost of a Macintosh-based Avid Media Composer 9000 ABVB system has been reduced from $98,880 to $49,400 [USMSRP] and the cost of a Media Composer 1000 3D has been reduced from $66,100 to $46,100 [USMSRP]. These prices are for boards, kit, and software and are effective July 21-September 15, 1999.
The company also is introducing a discount of up to 28% on the cost of certain upgrades. Any customer owning a PCI-based Media Composer ABVB system can upgrade to Media Composer XL Version 8.0 for Macintosh systems with a Meridien board for $17,995 [USMSRP]. Again, prices are for boards, kit and software and are effective July 21- September 15, 1999.
New "Millennium Edition" release for avid media composer
The next release of Avid Media Composer for the Mac, called the "Millenium Edition," is planned for a mid-2000 release and will include support for the upcoming G4 platform, additional AVX plug-ins, and Pan & Scan for video images. OS X and future Apple hardware are expected to be supported in a subsequent release.
Avid and Apple also are collaborating to support additional Macintosh initiatives including the joint development of a new import/export utility to enable enhanced media sharing between Avid Open Media Framework (OMF) and Apple QuickTime 4.
Avid also is bringing its Meridien video subsystem to Avid Xpress for Macintosh. Meridien was originally developed for the NT version of Xpress, which began shipping earlier this year. This version, which will be compatible with the Meridien-based version for NT, will be made available as an upgrade to existing customers this September.
Additionally, Avid will be releasing Media Composer Version 7.2 for ABVB-based systems for Avid Assurance customers (a telephone support and optionally extended hardware warranty program for users of Avid products), or new purchasers of Avid Unity. Available next month, the new software release includes support for the Avid Unity MediaNet shared storage and networking architecture.
New avid Macintosh development group to drive ongoing efforts
To provide a direct link to all of Avid's customers on Mac systems, the company has formed a new Macintosh Development Group dedicated to the continued development and marketing of video editing products for the Macintosh platform. The business unit, organized within Avid's Editing and Effects Worldwide Product Group, will develop new and updated media products for the company's Macintosh customer base. Avid has appointed Henderson as the new vice president and general manager of the Macintosh Development Group, reporting to Patrick Dumas.