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Once again, Apple changes its corps

CEO Gil Amelio's plans for Apple's fresh start include something that some observers say the company has already had too much: a management reorg.

CEO Gil Amelio's plans for Apple Computer's fresh start include something that some observers say the company has already had too much: a management reorg.

At his keynote here today, Amelio said the details would be announced later this month, but he did give a brief overview.

The news gave the jitters to some observers who feel that too many reorganizations the past few years have contributed to the company's current instability, said Stephan Somogyi of the newsletter Digital Media.

But Amelio wants his chance to form Apple's structure, and his plans call for slicing the company into seven divisions: the Macintosh hardware division, AppleNet, AppleSoft, a revamped customer support division called AppleAssist, the information appliance division for Newtons, Pippins, and other products under $1,000, an alternative platform group that will build bridges to other platforms, and an imaging hardware division that encompasses printers, scanners and digital camera equipment.

Each division will be "independently competitive," meaning that its performance will be judged separately from the overall performance of the company. The hardware division will have to negotiate its MacOS license deal with the software division as would any other vendor, for example. Likewise the software division will be judged on the total number of PCs that run the MacOS, regardless of who manufactures the machines.

Backing the whole band will be Apple Core Technologies, the newly renamed and re-chartered Advanced Technology Group. Amelio hinted, however, that he might cut the budget for this group.

Apple fellow Guy Kawasaki said later that the reorganization represented a "totally different" look from the previous company structure but declined to give specifics.