The Apple ll was a tremendous success for the Apple Company - selling 5 to 6 million from 1977 to 1993 ( according to information in Wikipedia ).
1982 Enter Franklin Computer with a Clone of the Apple ll
"the Franklin Ace 100"
The Franklin Company wanted to cash in on the large following of purchasers of the Apple ll computer and the Ace 100 was almost an exact digital copy. The monitor program in ROM was also an exact copy of the the Apple ll ROM.
This Ace 100 computer for sale
March 1982 the Franklin Computer Company released the Ace 1000 a copy of the Apple ll+.
The Apple Company did not take this lightly and in June 1982 sued the Franklin Computer Company for copyright infringement. Initially Apple lost the case and Franklin continued to sell their clone computers. The next Franklin computer was the Ace 1200 and it was the same as the Ace 1000 with additional features. The Ace 1200 came with 2 floppy drives built in and it also had and 8080 CPU on a plug in card and could execute CP/M programs as well as the Apple ll software. The Ace 1200 had upper and lower case characters and a color display.
The Apple Company did win the infringement case in 1983 however the Franklin Company received an injunction and was able to continue making the Ace Apple clone computers. The numbers I have found indicate that the Franklin Company sold these computers in the 10,000 + range.
Franklin continued to develop additional computers - Ace 500 an Apple llc clone and Ace 2000 an Apple lle clone. In 1986 - 1988 the Ace PC 6000 & Ace PC8000 both IBM PC clones were brought to market. The hand held small computer line of Franklin products was introduced with such products as spelling correction, dictionary definitions and a thesaurus. The production of Franklin desk top computers ended in the late 80's.
The Franklin Computer Company merged with Saunders Acquisition Corporation September 30, 2009.
The computer photo's in this blog are from our "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum". Our collection includes most all of the Franklin computers.
Many companies made Apple ll clones - mostly they were from China or Taiwan. Their were dozens of these clones however none of them were really a success. The Apple Computer Company put most of them out of business quickly. It would be interesting to hear of anyone who has made a collection of Apple clone computers.
"By David Larsen" KK4WW Computer Collector Historian
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