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Apple brings veteran back to class

John Couch returns to the Mac maker to lead the fight for the education computing market. Will the school PC czar help conquer Dell?

Apple Computer has recruited one of its former executives to help it get ahead in the competitive education computing market.

The maker of the iMac has brought back John Couch to serve in the newly created role of vice president of education. During Apple's formative years, Couch was vice president of software at Apple and also headed the unit that created the Lisa, which debuted in 1983 and was the forerunner of the Macintosh.

The company also has shifted the responsibilities of Cheryl Vedoe, formerly vice president of education marketing.

Vedoe will now serve as president of Apple's PowerSchool unit, which makes Web-based software for teachers and school administrators. Apple acquired PowerSchool last year.

The moves come as Apple is looking to redouble its efforts after losing the overall education sales crown to Dell Computer. Apple has said it is committed to remaining a force in the school market and has said it remains the leading seller to schools of both overall notebook computers as well as those that are wirelessly equipped.

In April, Apple introduced the eMac, a product it said was designed specifically for schools and aimed at helping bolster the company's educational offerings. Earlier this month, Apple said it would start selling the eMac to consumers as well.

In his new position Couch will supervise both Apple's education sales and marketing efforts and will report to Tim Cook, executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations.

Most recently, Couch was CEO of biotechnology software maker DoubleTwist, which closed its doors earlier this year.

An Apple representative could not immediately provide more details on the executive moves.