Apple head Gil Amelio has unveiled his plan to save the shrinking company from demise, including making a 50% cut in the number of Macintosh models manufactured, aggressively licensing the Mac OS and shipping Internet-ready machines.
"Our products have become increasingly complex and expensive. Even with the best OS, we have failed to win the battle, but Apple has a vision to keep and we have to get back to work," Amelio told 4000 people at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose yesterday.
Amelio has outlined a three-part plan aimed at developers, whom he calls "the most important aspect behind making Apple great", that he says will again make Apple the leader in bringing complex technology to the common user. The three steps include implementing a strategy around open connectivity to the Internet and multimedia authoring, creating a new business structure within the company, and resetting the cost structure down to US$9 billion.
"We want to build the Internet right into the Mac OS," says Amelio of Apple's Internet strategy. The company plans to ship all Macintoshes with Internet-ready software, either America Online or Apple's own Internet Connection Kit, by the end of 1996, according to Amelio.
Apple has also announced the developer' release of CyberDog 1.0, a suite of Internet software based on OpenDoc technology including a Web browser, mail reader and FTP client. Cyberdog allows integration of third-party OpenDoc components. It will be integrated into the Mac OS so that users can do such operations as drag and drop live URLS on to their desktops.
Amelio has also announced that the company is readying its Newton line of personal message systems for Internet access and that a Pippin-based Web browser will ship under the Apple logo on this week.
Amelio has outlined Apple's new business structure, which is built around three new organisations: AppleSoft for the company's software applications, AppleNet to accomplish its Internet strategy and AppleAssist, a revamped customer support network. Within this structure, Apple will operate four hardware divisions: information appliances (Newton and Pippin), Macintosh, alternative platforms and imaging. Details will be released on this restructuring at the end of May.
In perhaps the boldest move to bring the company back to life, Amelio has announced his plans to cut costs by eliminating products. He says Apple will cut the number of shipping models in half and cut the number of motherboards from nine to five in the next twelve months. This will be followed by a decrease to only two motherboards shortly thereafter. The company's six separate architectures will be consolidated into one version. "I want only one Mac OS," says Amelio. Amelio says he would spend US$18 million on developers tools and support for Apple-only dealers.
In addition to this three-part plan, Amelio has also disclosed several key partnerships and developer strategies. Apple is currently at work with IBM on a notebook computer that both companies will market, and IBM is committed to supporting OpenDoc, according to Amelio.
During a presentation by Larry Tesler, vice-president of Apple Internet platforms, Netscape vice-president Marc Andreessen announced that Netscape will now support OpenDoc and is in the process of hiring a slew of Mac developers in an attempt to release Mac versions of all Netscape products at the same time as versions for other platforms. He also says that Netscape will allow Mac developers access to parts of Navigator, and urged plug-in developers to release Mac versions of their products. In addition to these partnerships, 12 new Mac developer tools will be unveiled at the WWDC, according to Tesler.
Apple can be reached at http://www.apple.com/.