Vimage, a Japanese manufacturer that had been active in the Mac upgrade business, announced in August that it would no longer offer products to users or resellers, effectively ending the company's role as a Mac vendor. However, in a message on the company's Web site, Vimage said it was seeking potential partners to offer its products under their own labels.

The company offered a line of G3 CPU upgrades under the Vpower brand. It's a competitive market with little room for product differentiation because all the vendors get their primary components-the G3 chips-from the same sources. Vimage, a relative newcomer to the Mac market, was competing with well-known vendors such as Newer Technology, Sonnet Technologies, PowerLogix and XLR8.

Other upgrade vendors have also undergone changes. Newer Technology, reportedly beset by financial problems, announced in August that it has hired three executives to implement new production, finance, and organizational strategies. They include APS Technologies veteran John Nelson, who will take on responsibilities previously handled by former chief operating officer Steve Worrell and former operations director Lanny Buntner, both of whom left the company.

In a statement, Newer Technology said it hopes to "accelerate product shipments, shorten product development cycles, and improve time to market." Along with CPU upgrades, Newer Technology also sells memory, USB peripherals, and a FireWire PC Card for Apple PowerBooks.

Interex, the parent company of XLR8, has hired much of the former management team of DayStar Digital to handle its Mac upgrade business. Interex purchased the XLR8 brand name in 1996. DayStar closed its doors in 1998 after Apple pulled the plug on Mac OS licensing.