Apple Computer Co. cofounder and chairman Steven Jobs told Apple's board of directors at a meeting last week that he was launching a new computer venture, according to sources at Apple.

There have been persistent rumors that Jobs would attempt to start a new company since May, when the 30-year-old executive was stripped of all operating responsibilities by Apple chief executive officer John Sculley as part of a major corporate restructuring. Jobs had been in charge of Apple's Macintosh personal computer operations.

Neither Apple executives nor Jobs could be reached for comment over the weekend. However, several Apple employes said that at meetings last week, they had been told that Jobs would launch a new computer company.

Reportedly, Jobs informed the Apple board on Thursday that he planned the new venture and the board considered whether the company should invest in Jobs's company. No decision was reached.

In follow-up discussions with Apple executives on Friday, Jobs said he would be recruiting some of his new employes from Apple. This apparently sparked some arguments between Jobs and Apple.

It is unclear whether Jobs will remain as chairman of Apple.

More details are expected to be disclosed next week, but apparently the company will not make Macintosh-compatible computers.

Jobs, who with Stephen Wozniak started building Apple computers in a garage with money gained from selling a Volkswagen, is well positioned financially to fund a new company. Since July, he has sold more than 1.3 million shares of his Apple stock for a gain of roughly $20 million.