Apple announces new board, alliance with Microsoft

Apple Computer announced a new board of directors and a major accomodation with Microsoft overnight. New to the board are Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Apple founder Steve Jobs, Intuit CEO Bill Campbell and Jerry York, who helped turn around both IBM and Chrysler as CFO for both companies. Microsoft will continue to develop for the Mac and also buy $150m of non-voting stock in Apple - and Apple will bundle Internet Explorer as the default browser with its system software

Apple Computer announced a new board of directors and a major accomodation with Microsoft overnight.

New to the board are Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Apple founder Steve Jobs, Intuit CEO Bill Campbell and Jerry York, who helped turn around both IBM and Chrysler as CFO for both companies. Gareth Chang and Edgar Woolward remain on the the board, and Katherine Hudson, Bernard Goldstein and longtimer Mike Markkula have gone.

A chairman will not be announced until a new Apple CEO has been found, suggesting that Jobs may still be in line for either or both posts.

Meanwhile, with Jobs declaring in his keynote speech at Boston Macworld Expo that "the era of competition between Microsoft and Apple is over," Microsoft CEO Bill Gates appeared by satellite to committ his company to developing for the Mac for at least five more years. Microsoft will also buy $150m of non-voting stock in Apple and Apple will bundle Internet Explorer as the default browser with its system software.

Wall Street quickly demonstrated its approval of the announcements and Apple stock rose. Apple's share price had already climbed more than 50% to over $20 on the strength of rumours earier this week.

One vital issue not raised in Jobs' brief speech was MacOS licensing policy. The Expo had already seen one bitter public clash, as Joel Kocker, president of Mac cloner Power Computing, tore into Apple and said it would kill the platform unless it kept it open. Jobs, however, has already gone on record in describing Mac clone vendors as "leeches", and it appears that, at the least, Apple will play hardball over licensing deals for MacOS 8.

Apple's embrace of Internet Explorer also raises interesting questions, given Microsoft's apparent determination to continue substituting parts of the core Java specification with its own technologies, as it did without telling users in the recently-released beta versions of IE 4.0.

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