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.

footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone