Apple has cancelled its support contracts for current customers, while reducing the product's price.

The company has also said that no further software updates are planned as it begins working on the next generation of the software. This has led to speculation as to the future of Apple's market leading compositing software. But the intention appears to be to roll it into one family of video products.

"While we're excited about the innovations we can bring in the future, we understand you have a business to run today that requires Shake," the company explains.

The move seems to make Shake more of an essential standard fitting for Final Cut practitioners.

"We're thinking about the half million Final Cut users that can now take advantage of the tight integration with Shake," Kirk Paulsen, senior director, professional applications product marketing at Apple told Studio Daily.

"At this new price, we see Shake as becoming a universal tool for almost every Final Cut user. This is not a stripped-down version of Shake, this is the full version with all the tools and features."

Former maintenance support contract holders are being offered three support options that replace the original contracts, which must be followed by July 23. These include: email support, the cancellation of the existing maintenance contract in exchange for a refund, or the option of licensing the Shake 4 source code.

The latter step costs users $50,000 (about the cost of 25 Shake licenses before the price cut). It includes a 5,000-seat volume licence of the product.

This offer is designed to help facilities with significant Shake investments maintain a reliable and controllable visual effects pipeline.

Apple Insider claims that Shake 4.1 will be the last release of the application based on the existing code. It claims a new version of the product will debut in 2008 and will be based on the code inside Motion.

Apple does not comment on rumour or speculation.

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