Something is up at Apple Computer.
The computer maker has moved from being merely "beleaguered" in the days following the resignation of CEO and chairman Gil Amelio to a more gratifying, if confusing, state of intense rumour and occasional intriguing fact. Next week's MacWorld Expo in Boston is expected to be the scene of some controversial announcements. The following may or may not be among those.
• Joel Kocher, CEO of the newly-floated Mac cloner Power Computing, is reported to be a front-runner for the vacant top job at Apple, with co-founder Steve Jobs becoming chairman. Kocher's appointment would lend credence to reports that Apple is considering a direct sales model.
• Apple has been talking for several weeks to Intel cloner AMD about the use of AMD's K6 chips in a new line of "MacTel" boxes, on which Apple's next-generation OS, Rhapsody, will be able to run. An announcement is expected at Macworld.
• Apple's Imaging division is soon to be history.
• Apple's stock has been edging up, apparently in response to takeover rumours. One rumour suggests a joint Oracle-Sun bid, but, hey, think outside the loop. Think about a dominant hardware company which has signalled an intention to get into software, which has the market for various crucial PC components nailed but doesn't want to fall the wrong side of the performance curve in the processor market. Consider the fact that the G3 PowerPC range will trounce anything else in the PC market, especially for mobile use, where Apple is planning a 350MHz laptop next year. Remember that a range of Rhapsody implementations for Intel is promised (and may even be well ahead of the Mac version), and that Intel has recently embraced Mac apostate Be. Just a thought ...
• Microsoft, having come up this week with a not-quite full-featured IE 4.0 for the MacOS, is rumoured have stopped fudging the issue of support for Rhapsody. Macworld Expo may see announcements on this, on Office for the Mac - and, to go way out on a limb, a rethink of support of PPCP (PowerPC Platform) for NT 5.0, and even a "strategic alliance" based on Apple's new direction.