Steve Jobs stands by Apple decision to ditch cloners

Steve Jobs, the interim chief executive officer at Apple Computer, yesterday staunchly defended his controversial decision to break relations with clone makers of the Macintosh line saying that, had they been allowed to endure, the licensing agreements would have sent Apple `down the shitter'. David Usborne reports from San Francisco.

Mr Jobs, who has said he will only hold the tiller at Apple until a permanent CEO can be recruited later this year, offered an upbeat assessment of the struggling company's future to an automatically sympathetic audience of desk top publishers at the Seybold Convention in San Francisco.

Dressed casually and drinking from bottled water, Mr Jobs showcased Apple's new advertising campaign, featuring icons of innovation ranging from Ghandi to Richard Branson, and promised a new array of products without offering specific details on any of them. Saying that he had identified about 30 per cent of Apple products as "gems" worth pursuing, he said: "The products we have coming are going to be a lot, lot better.

He pledged, however, to remain committed to the existing MAC OS operating system and said the company was re-focusing its commitment on two areas where its market share remains at least relatively strong: publishing and design and education.

Mr Jobs also repeated his commitment to the new alliance formed earlier in the summer with Bill Gates of Microsoft, who had previously represented "Beelzebub" to most Mac enthusiasts. "I decided that basically we had to normalise relations with Microsoft," he insisted. The audience listened politely, not repeating the boos and cat-calls that met the announcement when it was made at MacWorld in August. Under the deal, Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple, and Apple promised to include the Microsoft browser as the default browser on its platform.

Implicitly recognising the criticism that showered on him from many quarters after his decision last month to terminate licensing with Apple's three main clone licensees - Power Computing, which he bought, IBM and Motorola - Mr Jobs said he found a "really dangerous situation" on effectively taking control of the company from Gil Amelio who was fired by the board in July.

Because the cost to Apple per licensed unit was running to hundreds of dollars, he said, the company was essentially subsidising each clone Macintosh that went on the market. "I told them that we were going to go broke and that if we went down the shitter then the whole Macintosh ecoystem would go down the shitter".

Efforts made by Apple to negotiate new terms for the licenses to eliminate the effective subsidisation met a brick wall, Jobs said, adding that he was "not happy" that at the terminations. But he added defiantly: "Our pricing has got to make the ecosystem prosper and make sure Apple returns to health and we did what we had to do".

Even among the most diehard of Mac enthusiasts - many of them among the 3,000-audience yesterday - there is still the sober understanding that the once-mighty Apple still has an uphill struggle to regain its footing. The company has lost some $2bn over two years and has since its world market share drop to almost insignfiicant levels beneath 3 per cent.

Brought on to the stage to offer support for Jobs and the new board team he also unveiled in the summer, were several CEO's of some of Apples' most important software providers. Among them John Warnock, CEO of Adobe, declared: "They're getting back to basics and they're looking at customers agin. That is very, very refreshing." One of the main criticisms aimed at Mr Amelio was that he had no feel for customers or for the selling of Apple's image.

It is in an effort to repair that that Jobs a week ago introduced a new advertising campaign for Apple in the US, with 60-second television commercials that bear the new slogan, "Think Different" and feature characters such as Einstein, Picasso and, indeed, Mr Branson.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones