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Foxconn lands Core 2 Duo MacBook orders from Apple

Foxconn Electronics, the now infamous maker of Apple Computer's iPod nano digital music players, recently secured a contract that will make it the third manufacturer of the company's Intel-based MacBook computer line, according to a report in the Commercial Times.

Citing an analyst at Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia, the Chinese-language publication last week said Foxconn —the registered trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry —has received notebook orders from Apple and will start volume shipments of one new MacBook model by the end of this year.

As a result of the move, Asustek Computer is expected to see its notebook orders from Apple cut by one-third in 2007, as compared to the amount it received this year, the analyst added.

The report does not indicate whether the orders are for Apple's 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro professional notebooks or its consumer-oriented 13-inch MacBook models. The subject is further complicated by reports from Far East publications that appear to contradict one another on the matter.

In an earlier report, the Commercial Times indicated that Asustek has been responsible for MacBook manufacturing and Quanta the MacBook Pro —suggesting a loss of orders by Asustek would imply the Foxconn win was for Apple's 13-inch MacBooks

On the other hand, with its share of the US-based notebook market rising sharply from 6 to 12 percent during the first half of the year, Apple in August was reported to be shopping for a third contract manufacturer in order to stamp out more systems.

At the time, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported that the Mac maker was likely to favor Foxconn, which had been looking to do new business with Apple, specifically offering to build its 15-inch MacBook Pro high-end notebooks.

Nevertheless, people familiar with Apple's product plans have said the company will update both its MacBook and MacBook Pro lines with Intel Corp.'s Core 2 Duo processors in time for the start of holiday shopping season this November.

Insiders and analysts alike believe the Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple stands a solid chance of selling as many as 1 million notebook systems during the three-month period ending December. The milestone would be a company first.