> "The Internet is proving to be Apple's worst nightmare,"
> said Apple's co-founder and former chairman, Steven Jobs.
> "People are switching to Windows computers to take
> advantage of the Internet."
> "Apple's stock price is so low that either Steve Jobs or
> Larry Ellison could buy the company by putting it on
> their personal American Express Gold cards," said Richard
> Doherty, president of Envisioneering, a Seaford, N.Y.,
> computer-industry consulting firm.
> But Jobs apparently no longer sees much value in the
> company he founded. He said that when he recently took
> his college-bound daughter computer shopping, he came
> away disappointed with the available Macintosh Powerbook
> offerings. So what did Jobs purchase? An IBM Thinkpad.
Personally, I'd like to think this is a Platinum card purchase, but just
think of the billions of FFmiles... :-)
----------------------------------------------------------------------July 10, 1996
Market Place: Slices of Apple May Be Up for Sale
By JOHN MARKOFF
Are slices of Apple Computer up for sale?
Just five months after Apple's board spurned a takeover bid by Sun
Microsystems and chose instead, to hire Gilbert Amelio as chairman and chief
executive, Amelio's turnaround prospects look increasingly grim.
Sales have continued to crumble. The schedule for new products that might
restore consumer confidence has slipped by at least a quarter. The stock
price, which edged down 12.5 cents Tuesday to close at $19, is at its lowest
point in nearly a decade -- and well below the $23 to $24 a share that Sun
offered in January.
That put Apple's market capitalization on Tuesday at $2.37 billion, or less
than 40 percent of Apple's $6.2 billion valuation only one year ago.
Peering through the gloom, financial analysts and market researchers have
begun to conclude that Amelio no longer has the leisurely luxury of a one-year
turnaround timetable but will need to take some sort of quick action to
appease shareholders. And so Silicon Valley is rife with talk that portions --
or even all -- of Apple may be in play again.
Of course as Apple executives meet with all sorts of companies these days in
an effort to devise a winning strategy -- including a recent retreat that
found Amelio talking technology with Bill Gates, chairman of Apple's longtime
archenemy, Microsoft Corp. -- it is possible, of course, that Apple watchers
are confusing brainstorming with horse trading.
And Apple officially declines to comment. But while people close to the
company insist that the whole Apple is not for sale, they do not rule out a
paring of one or more parts. The likeliest may include Apple's printer
business, the division that produces the Newton hand-held computer, or the
company's new Pippin television set-top CD-ROM and Internet terminal.
The latest storm of speculation involves Oracle Corp. Oracle has held
on-and-off merger talks with Apple over the years, and its chairman, Lawrence
Ellison, has long let it be known that he would like to add Apple's lineup of
personal computers and software to Oracle's market-leading lineup of corporate
data-base management programs.
Last week Ellison and Oracle's president, Raymond Lane, at the last minute
canceled their attendance at a long-scheduled gathering on Bali of several
hundred of Oracle's top sales representatives.
Word among the Oracle sales force, jittery over the implications for their
own company's stock, was that the two top executives were back in Silicon
Valley negotiating some kind of deal with Apple.
Oracle has declined to comment, except for the attempt by one company
executive to laugh off the rumors. "Larry has a long history of blowing off
meetings -- ranging from Nobel laureates to grand conferences of Oracle
customers," the executive said. Ellison was said to be traveling Tuesday and
unavailable to discuss the matter.
Given Amelio's publicly stated strategy of refocusing the company on a
clearly defined set of products, and his recently completed assembly of a
management team with no-nonsense business executives like the former Texas
Instruments manager Marco Landi and the IBM veteran Ellen Hancock, several
people close to the company say there has been a let's-make-a-deal atmosphere
inside Apple in recent weeks.
The PC maker Gateway 2000 has reportedly come calling. And while Microsoft
has publicly denied kicking any tires, the company is known to covet the
Quicktime technology that has consistently given Apple an edge in multimedia
Scott McNealy, the chairman of Sun Microsytems, who earlier this year offered
what at the time was a controversially low bid for Apple of $23 to $24 a
share, is said to be no longer interested in salvaging all or part of Apple.
Instead, people familiar with his thinking said, McNealy is now focused on
Sun's work-station business and Java software for the Internet.
The Internet, in fact, seems to be compounding Apple's problems. The most
innovative software for use with the global computing network these days
typically does not appear in versions for Apple Macintosh computers until
months after it is available for PCs based on Microsoft's Windows operating
system -- if the Macintosh programs appear at all.
"The Internet is proving to be Apple's worst nightmare," said Apple's
co-founder and former chairman, Steven Jobs. "People are switching to Windows
computers to take advantage of the Internet."
With Apple's stock-market value so depressed, some analysts see it as only a
matter of time before a buyer shows up, money in hand, with an offer for parts
or all of Apple Computer.
"Apple's stock price is so low that either Steve Jobs or Larry Ellison could
buy the company by putting it on their personal American Express Gold cards,"
said Richard Doherty, president of Envisioneering, a Seaford, N.Y.,
computer-industry consulting firm.
But Jobs apparently no longer sees much value in the company he founded. He
said that when he recently took his college-bound daughter computer shopping,
he came away disappointed with the available Macintosh Powerbook offerings. So
what did Jobs purchase? An IBM Thinkpad.