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Amelio calls for courage, help

Apple Computer CEO Gil Amelio called for courage and help from the Apple developer community in setting out his strategy for the company's turnaround.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA--Apple Computer CEO Gil Amelio called for courage and help from the Apple developer community in setting out his strategy for the beleagured company's turnaround in his keynote address today at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference here.

Amelio admitted his personal frustration with Apple's business errors, mistakes that resulted in a $740 million loss for the most recent quarter, and vowed that the company will avoid more missteps by acting with humility in the future.

In addition to setting the tone for a new Apple, Amelio also announced:
--a joint development with IBM to produce a notebook computer that will be released under both companies' brands.
--the development of a children's programming environment called Cocoa.
--the release in the United States of the first Pippin machine this week.
--a Web browser to be sold under the Apple logo.

Netscape Communications' Marc Andreessen also made an appearance to pledge Netscape's support for the OpenDoc platform

But while Apple did make a slew of product announcements today and vice president Larry Tesler did outline the company's new Internet strategy, Amelio's main interest seemed to be eliminating business inefficiencies, a task for which his talent is well-known in the PC industry.

He announced that in the next 12 months, Apple will cut costs by paring the number of products it manufactures by 50 percent. "And we won't stop there," Amelio said. "We'll get to 50 percent, and I'll set new targets."

His goal is to see the number of Apple's system architectures drop from the current list of seven down to one.

His goal is to reset the cost structure, bring the break-even level down to about $9 billion in the next 12 months. "We are taking the necessary measures to permanently strengthen our cash position and financial health"

In the meantime, Amelio said, all new Mac models will ship from now on with at least 12MB of DRAM. That drew the first applause of the day from a full house hungry for concrete plans. The attendees also applauded Amelio's statement that the integration of Internet tools into the Mac operating system could not wait for next summer's Copland.

"We have to shift to continuous improvements and pull Copland features into improvements of system 7.5," he said.

Amelio left it to Tesler to provide the details of the Internet strategy that many think will determine whether Apple can again become a driving force in the PC business.

In the context of the Internet Application Framework, Tesler brought up guest after guest, including Andreessen and Sun Microsystems' chief technology officer Eric Schmidt, to extoll a new era of partnerships and cooperation on Internet standards.

Tesler outlined the four goals of Apple's Internet strategy: to extend its leadership position in multimedia authoring tool platforms to the Internet; to increase Apple's Web server market share; to establish partnerships with leading content providers to create Web sites and Webcasts; and generally to help make the Internet as easy to use as the Mac OS

The focus of the Internet strategy revolves around QuickTime, which the company is porting to the Internet, and Cyberdog, an application suite designed to use OpenDoc to allow integration of applications within a single document.

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