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
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick