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Thursday, July 30, 2009, 09:30 am PT (12:30 pm ET)

Apple removes Shake software extension from online store

Speculation has arisen that Apple has discontinued Shake, its film digital effects and digital compositing software, after the application vanished from the company's online store.

Although the official Web site for Shake was still online early Thursday afternoon, it was later changed to forward to the page for Final Cut Studio. MacRumors received word that Apple sales representatives were informed that the product was discontinued.

The current release, Shake 4.1, debuted in 2006. A minor update, bringing it to 4.1.1, came out in 2008. As an extension for Final Cut Studio, the software was been the tool of choice for major motion-picture studios and leading effects houses to create award-winning visual effects including Peter Jackson's "King Kong."

The $499 software worked in tandem with the Final Cut Studio. Last week, Apple updated that suite and lowered the price to $999. More than 100 new features were added to the latest Final Cut, perhaps negating the need for Shake entirely.

Rumors that Shake would be discontinued first began to swirl 2006, when the project called "Phenomenon" was believed to be in Apple's future plans. It was not long after the release of Shake 4.1 that Apple informed customers it would no longer be selling maintenance for Shake as "no further updates" to the application were planned. The company also slashed the price of the software by 80 percent, down from $2,999 to $499.

Rumors at the time suggested Phenomenon would be based heavily on the codebase for Motion, Apple's professional graphics animation software.

Apple did not yet officially confirm the discontinuation of Shake Thursday.