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Apple slashes Aperture team

Aperture development team engineers have been moved to other departments, or let go completely, a Web site reports.

Apple Computer has slashed the development team for Aperture, its professional image software for RAW-format work flow, the insider news Web site Think Secret has reported.

The team's engineers have been absorbed by other departments or completely let go, according to the Web site.

The move is not entirely a surprise, as the software has seen a host of problems. Software glitches, such as an initial incompatibility with Intel-based Macs, have plagued Aperture since its release.

Apple was unavailable for comment.

Aperture was also challenged by Adobe's release of comparable RAW-image work-flow software.

RAW is one of the image formats available on some advanced digital cameras. RAW images are large, usually uncompressed files that, unlike JPEGs, are not processed by the camera and retain all their original data, ideal for those who plan on editing their pictures with image-editing software because they often require special software to turn them into a more common format like TIFF or JPEG.

In February, Adobe began offering a beta version of Adobe Lightroom, Aperture's chief competitor, for free. Before the Aperture 1.1 upgrade, many online-forum posts had reported that the beta version of Lightroom performed better than Apple's pricier software.

In early April, Apple released Aperture 1.1, an upgrade that is compatible with both PC and Intel Macs. The price of Aperture was lowered from $499 to $299. Owners of the earlier version were offered a $200 coupon to the Apple Store, in addition to the free upgrade.

Apple also addressed many of the glitches with its April upgrade, but by then the Adobe Lightroom beta had been freely available for months.

The reported team change for Aperture could be a reaction to last week's announcement that

Adobe Lightroom and Aperture are both work-flow complements to photo-editing software, such as Photoshop.