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Apple outlines job cuts

The Mac maker says in an SEC filing that it eliminated 260 positions as it closed manufacturing in Singapore and shifted strategy in its PowerSchool unit.

Apple Computer eliminated 260 positions in the last three months of last year as it closed manufacturing operations in Singapore and shifted strategy in its PowerSchool education unit, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing Monday.

In the Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Apple said that 197 of the 260 job cuts had been made by Dec. 28, the end of its first quarter. The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker said when it reported first-quarter earnings last month that it was taking a charge to cover restructuring actions, but did not say then how many jobs were being cut.

The cuts included those related to the closing of the Singapore plant in the company's fourth quarter, reductions in the PowerSchool unit and "the termination of various sales and marketing activities in the United States and Europe," according to the filing.

Apple, like other computer makers, has seen sales dip amid sluggish consumer demand for personal computers. The company has also been hit by a drop in education sales as well as by lower sales of its high-end Power Mac systems.

Apple's latest cuts follow other moves made in the past 18 months. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2002, the Mac maker cut 180 positions, of which 162 were eliminated by Dec. 28. Those cuts took place in the PowerSchool unit, in product development, corporate operations and sales for the educational software. In addition, the company cut 425 positions in operations, information systems and administrative functions in the first quarter of 2002.

An Apple representative noted that the company's overall employment continues to grow, the company's usual response when asked about restructurings.

One of the engines of Apple's employment growth has been its retail stores effort. The company has opened 53 stores and plans to open an unspecified additional number this year. In the regulatory filing, Apple notes that it is also planning to open more of its larger outlets, like its Manhattan store. Such stores require more upfront investment and have higher lease commitments than more typical stores, Apple said.

"The company has opened two such stores and has several others under development," Apple said in the filing. Apple representatives have declined to say how many stores the company would open this year.