Apple layoffs strike first in Australia

The sweeping layoffs expected from Apple Computer have taken an early toll in Australia, but the Asia-Pacific region will be largely unaffected by the company's planned restructuring. In a meeting this week in Sydney, Apple told 22 employees of its Australia unit that they will have to leave the company by today, according to Steve Vamos, vice president and managing director, Asia-Pacific.

The sweeping layoffs expected from Apple Computer have taken an early toll in Australia, but the Asia-Pacific region will be largely unaffected by the company's planned restructuring, according to officials.

In a meeting this week in Sydney, Apple told 22 employees of its Australia unit that they will have to leave the company by today, according to Steve Vamos, vice president and managing director, Asia-Pacific, who oversees the region excluding Japan.

The layoffs, accounting for about 7% of the unit, center on Australia-specific employees, but three of the 22 have broader marketing responsibilities in the region, he says.

In Japan, meanwhile, a spokesman said the company does not expect to restructure or lay off any employees, adding that he could not comment on the effects of Apple's broader restructuring plan expected to be announced today.

In addition to pushing more responsiblity for marketing to the country level around the region, Apple in Australia will restructure and better integrate its sales and marketing around five areas - the consumer, higher education, school, enterprise and publishing markets, Vamos says.

Vamos cites changes in the procurement practices in Australia's education market along with "the pressures we continually live under, namely the Intel world," as reasons for the restructuring.

"I see tremendous opportunity for Apple in the Asia-Pacific region," he says. "We're rolling forward, putting all of this behind us and getting along with the job."

He says he does not expect any further changes to the region stemming from the forthcoming restructuring announcement.

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