Apple’s Jobs keeps job
Steve Jobs drops interim title, as Apple teams with Earthlink, unveils OS X
NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Apple Computer Inc. aficionados finally heard the words they had long hoped for Wednesday: Steve Jobs, its founder and rescuer, said he’s dropping "interim” from his Chief Executive Officer title and taking the job full-time.|
The "i” in his iCEO title, or so it seems, may be better left to the hot products like the "iMac” and "iBook” that brought Apple back to life since Jobs temporarily took back its helm two years ago.
"I’m going to be dropping the ‘interim’ title,” Jobs said to thousands of Apple faithful at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco in the latest of his trademark jeans-clad presentations.
Asked in an interview with CNN’s Moneyline Wednesday evening what prompted the move, Jobs said: "It’s been two years now ... it’s time to drop the interim title.”
In 1997, Jobs came back to Apple, a company nearly left for dead amid management upheaval, shrinking market share, widespread red ink and a stock price in the cellar.
"It was like a Charlie Chaplin movie; they were shooting themselves in both feet,” Daniel Kunstler, an analyst with J.P. Morgan in San Francisco, said, citing Jobs’ back-to-basics approach. "What he has done is put in the company a design and execution process that’s second to none. That’s amazing.”
And he did it while juggling the job of chairman and CEO at Pixar Animation Studios.
Since his return, Jobs has orchestrated a stellar 775-percent rally in Apple’s stock price, powering its rebirth through the launch of innovative products such as the color-coordinated iMac computer line.
"We've reinvented almost everything about the way we run our business, about the way we market our products, about the way we distribute our products, about the way we re-engineer our products and it's been a lot of work by a lot of folks at Apple,” said Jobs, crediting customer loyalty (271K WAV or 271K AIFF).
Jobs said the company sold a record 1.35 million Macs during its just-ended fourth quarter, and its online store registered $300 million in sales.
And one of the only chinks in Apple’s newfound armor was caused externally: semiconductor maker Motorola faced backlogs that stalled delivery of chips for use in Apple’s G4 computers.
Apple polishes product, deal slate
MacWorld has become the venue for many an Apple revelation in recent years -- and Wednesday was no different as Apple also announced a multi-year alliance with the Internet service provider EarthLink (ELNK), which is poised to merge with fellow ISP Mindspring Enterprises (MSPG).
Under the terms of that deal - one of several initiatives unveiled Wednesday - EarthLink will be the exclusive ISP in the setup software included with all of Apple’s Macintosh computers sold in the U.S.
Apple (AAPL) said it will invest $200 million in EarthLink (ELNK) - which is poised to merge with Mindspring Enterprises (MSPG) to create the No. 2 ISP behind America Online (AOL) - for which it will take a seat on EarthLink’s board and share in the profits from each Macintosh customer that subscribes to EarthLink’s service.
Shares of EarthLink closed up 2-13/16 at 44-11/16 while Apple added 1-1/2 to close at 104.
Also at the Macworld conference, Jobs unveiled the latest operating system for the Macintosh computer, called Mac OS X.
Jobs demonstrated Mac OS X to an audience of over 4,000 people during his keynote at Macworld, and over 100 developers have thrown their support behind the new operating system, including Adobe (ADBE) and Microsoft (MSFT).
Pre-release versions of Mac OS X will be delivered to Macintosh software developers by the end of this month, and it will be commercially available this summer.
Rounding out the barrage of Apple-related announcements, Microsoft also said it would release its latest Macintosh-based Internet Explorer Web browser by early March and bundle it with the latest Macintosh operating system later this year.
The new Mac-based browser includes new features such as an "auction manager,” which can be used to track and complete multiple Internet auctions simultaneously, and an "Internet scrapbook,” which can be used to save Web content such as images, e-commerce receipts and links for future reference directly within the browser, according to Kevin Browne, acting general manager of the Macintosh business unit at Microsoft.
The new browser also will be at least 50 percent faster than the current version, Browne said.