Apple Computer Co. yesterday announced a major corporate restructuring that effectively will combine its Macintosh and Apple II divisions and strip 30-year-old Apple cofounder and chairman Steve Jobs of his operating responsibilities.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based personal computer company, which has seen its sales and earnings drop as part of an industrywide slowdown, said it was "restructuring along functional lines to create a more efficient organization" and expects to emerge "as a highly focused, unified and flexible company," according to Apple president and chief executive officer John Sculley.
The company said it is focusing its sales efforts on the educational and small- to mid-size business markets.
"The thing that we're trying to convey here is that market conditions are different than the industry had anticipated," said Bill Campbell, the executive vice president named to oversee all of Apple's U.S. sales and marketing. "This is an effort to provide efficiencies. Streamlining the operation is our goal. I don't think we'll leave any stone unturned in our effort to return to significant profitability."
Campbell said that combining the Macintosh and Apple II groups will lead to layoffs, but he declined to state how significant the layoffs could be. Campbell formerly was a sales and marketing executive for the company.
Apple II division general manager Del Yocam will become a group vice president overseeing all product operations worldwide. He also will be responsible for manufacturing, product development, operations management and distribution for both Apple II and Macintosh products. The corporate reshuffling phases out Jobs' previous roles.
Jobs, who had been a project manager of the Macintosh group, no longer will have any day-to-day responsibilities in the company. Rather, he will become a "resource" for the company, said Campbell. Jobs will play "a more global role," Sculley said in a statement.
Apple insiders report that Jobs was "extremely unhappy" with the move, which will leave no one reporting directly to him. Jobs' diminished role in the company may be a result of reports that Apple's directors were becoming increasingly unhappy with the behavior of their chairman, who frequently is described as "temperamental." A cofounder of the company with Steve Wozniak, Jobs owns slightly more than 11 percent of Apple's stock.
Members of Apple's board, Jobs and Sculley were unavailable for comment.
Campbell said the company is in a "cost-control stage" where "nothing is sacred, except for research and development and product engineering." He said the restructuring has been planned since April.
One analyst, who asked not to be identified, said the restructuring was "long overdue, but I don't like the way they've handled this. It's a surprise and it comes on top of other announcements about factory shutdowns and layoffs. They don't sound like they've got their act together."
However, Tim Bajarin, an analyst for Creative Strategies in San Jose, Calif., said, "the financial community will be pleased. This is a tough statement recognizing the marketplace realities and the need for tight management controls and coordination."