Apple Computer Inc’s shares kept right on falling yesterday, taking other high-tech counters with them: by noon, Apple had shed another $3 to stand at $25.875, and IBM Corp was making a new low for the decade of $44.25, off $1.25. Contributing to the woe was a stream of negative comment on Apple that broke […]
Apple Computer Inc’s shares kept right on falling yesterday, taking other high-tech counters with them: by noon, Apple had shed another $3 to stand at $25.875, and IBM Corp was making a new low for the decade of $44.25, off $1.25. Contributing to the woe was a stream of negative comment on Apple that broke over the weekend and yesterday morning, with Oppenheimer & Co analyst James Poyner confirming that he downgraded Apple and AST Research Inc to sell from underperform. In Apple’s case they just have a gigantic inventory problem and that’s going to force some really, really serious price discounting on their products, Poyner said. He said he did not think the discounting would be over soon. And Apple’s price cuts will have a ripple effect on personal computer industry, which is why he downgraded AST. Moreover analysts do not see much immediate upside from a floor of about $24 in the Apple price in the the near or intermediate term. I just think it’s dead money at best, Frank Gretz, a technical analyst at Shields & Co told Reuter. And the whole ethos at the company has been changed by the present round of woes, the San Jose Mercury News reported. Only a day after the company began telling 1,100 Bay Area workers they would lose their jobs, it quickly became clear some of the things that once made Apple the very symbol of corporate enlightenment in America are now on their way out, the paper declared, noting that the famous child care centre will be phased out, the staff that handed out corporate grants will be whittled to almost nothing, and the famous in-house television studio, used to produce training and promotional videos, is expected to be sold or donated to a local college as a tax write-off.
The 1,100 in the Bay Area that are now without jobs were ordered immediately to surrender identification badges, keys, company credit cards and other property, the paper said. They were told they must be escorted in and out of their own offices as they collected personal belongings. Those aged over 40 were handed a form to sign in which they promised not to sue Apple on age discrimination grounds – and told if they didn’t sign, they could not collect their redundancy pay. Many departments in Cupertino are being cut altogether, workers said, while others are being left with skeleton crews to act either as caretakers or to phase the shutdown of an operation until they, too, are no longer needed. On the products front, MacWeek hears that as well as the pen-driven Mac, other projects to be killed include a handheld pen-based PowerBook, all development on future incarnations of the Classic family, an entire family of new, high-end external storage options, including disk arrays, DAT drives, magneto-optical drives and a 2Gb disk. Development of cost-saving IDE controllers for the Mac has also been chopped, although the paper suggests the project was far enough along that an IDE Mac can’t be ruled out. Special vertical-market configurations of the Quadra 950 and the hot videoconferencing system, are also history, the paper hears. Meantime the Mercury reports that apart from software people, those laid off this time face a harder challenge than usual in finding another job – SuperMac Technology Inc just received 500 replies to a single classified ad for a technical executive.