Sculley makes multimedia moves

Macworld Expo Former Apple CEO John Sculley teams up with Apple in a digital photography alliance, another sign of his Silicon Valley comeback.

Macworld Expo Former Apple Computer(AAPL) chief executive John Sculley today announced that he is teaming up with Apple in a digital photography alliance, as previously reported by CNET. The announcement comes as another sign of the executive's comeback in Silicon Valley.

Sculley also said that two startups that he helped found, Live Picture and RealSpace, will merge. The combined companies will expand into a new market for them: ecommerce.

Operating under the Live Picture name, they will combine photo imaging for the Internet with Real Space's online navigation technology. "We're starting to connect the dots," Sculley said today of his plans to leverage the strengths of his Silicon Valley investments.

Using both companies' technologies, Internet shoppers will be able to rotate products in three dimensions and examine them in detail starting later this year. Some partnerships are being finalized, Sculley said.

Both Sculley and Jobs, Apple's cofounder and Sculley's one-time nemesis, have played a role at Macworld. Jobs last month sold his company, Next Computer to Apple for $400 million.

While they are a sideshow to the blockbuster Next-Apple deal, Sculley and Apple executives will announce LivePix for the Mac, software that lets consumers edit their photos online, including removing "red eye" from subjects, adjusting color, and adding borders and other features. LivePix for the Mac will sell for about $50.

Sculley and Apple are expected to announce plans for further joint R&D in digital photography as well, sources said. Microsoft, Eastman Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, and Live Picture already have teamed up to develop image-compression technology dubbed FlashPix, which speeds online image processing.

Apple said today it would embed FlashPix into Apple's QuickTime architecture. QuickTime is the underlying, multimedia architecture for the Mac.

Microsoft also makes its own photo-editing software called Microsoft Picture It, which has been selling for about $80. Today Microsoft cut the price to $55, however.

Live Pictures has been offering a LivePix software package for Windows 95 since last month, selling for $50. The company's Web site says a "Macintosh version is coming soon." The price is expected to be similar.

As previously reported by CNET, Sculley has been making a comeback in Silicon Valley, with the help of former Apple executives.

Sculley told CNET he plans to increase his stake in NetObjects, a Web publishing tool maker where he is expected to get a board seat. Sculley also is an investor in LiveWorld Productions, an Internet company that focuses on content, both in text and images.

Live Pictures, Live World, and NetObjects all include former Apple executives.

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