Apple's Amelio promises return to profitability

Days after announcing layoffs and technology cuts, Apple Computer CEO Gil Amelio has reiterated his promise to make the company profitable by narrowing its focus. 'Apple was trying to do too many things, be too many technologies, and do many things ... that could have been done by third-party vendors,' Amelio has told and idustry group.

Days after announcing layoffs and technology cuts, Apple Computer CEO Gil Amelio has reiterated his promise to make the company profitable by narrowing its focus.

"Apple was trying to do too many things, be too many technologies, and do many things ... that could have been done by third-party vendors," Amelio said during an address to the Massachusetts Software Council, a trade organization that represents software companies in the state.

"We're going to narrow the scope of what we're going to do," Amelio added. "Apple will emerge as a healthy company."

In its latest restructuring, Apple announced it would trim 2,700 full-time and 1,400 part-time workers from its staff of 13,400 employees. It also announced plans to discontinue work on several software efforts, including its Cyberdog browser and OpenDoc component technology.

"OpenDoc is being superseded by Java, and the object model within Java is almost identical to OpenDoc," Amelio said. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

The Internet is key to Apple's current strategy, Amelio said. That includes extending the Mac's dominance in desktop publishing to Web site design, as well as pushing Macs as a Web server platform for small businesses and departments. Tempo, the forthcoming Mac OS release, will also feature improved Internet integration.

One Mac-using designer in the audience asked Amelio how she should handle derisive comments from clients when she pulls out her Mac portable to show a demo.

"What do I say in those meetings when they say, 'show me a real computer'? " said Suzanne Watzman, president of Watzman Information Design of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Amelio said improving compatibility between the Macintosh and non-Macintosh systems is a priority for the company. And, he added, "the quickest way to silence those folks is [for Apple] just to start making money again."

Watzman wanted more specifics on compatibility, however, and she hopes Apple is serious about making it a priority.

"It has to be or Apple won't survive," Watzman said later.

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