Business People

Apple's Software Chief Shifts to New Program

By Daniel F. Cuff and Lawrence M. Fisher
The New York Times

April 20, 1987

Guy Kawasaki joined Apple Computer Inc. in 1983, when the Macintosh personal computer was still perceived by software developers as innovative, but too slow and lacking in power to appeal to business users. His job as self-described ''software evangelist'' was to ''use fervor and zeal to convince developers'' to write programs for the new machine.

Today there are more than 2,500 programs for the Macintosh, and Mr. Kawasaki, 32, who was recently promoted from manager to director of software development, is leaving Apple to establish a new company to produce yet another powerful new data base management program. Created by a French company, ACI, and developed over the past 15 months at Apple under the code name ''Silver Surfer,'' the program will be produced and marketed as ''4th Dimension.''

When Apple decided that to market the program itself would create conflicts with third-party software companies, a new company, Acius Inc. (pronounced ACE-ee-us), was formed by ACI and Mr. Kawasaki. It will have its offices across the street from Apple in Cupertino, Calif., and Mr. Kawasaki said he remained ''physically and emotionally close,'' and ''will always bleed six colors,'' a reference to Apple's multi-hued corporate logotype. Apple has no financial interest in Acius.

Ashton-Tate, producer of the industry-standard, dBase, for the I.B.M. PC and compatibles, and other major software houses have introduced data base programs for the Macintosh. But Mr. Kawasaki said that he and Scott Knaster, Apple's manager of technical support, who is joining him in the new venture, have a better understanding of this computer and its market.

Before joining Apple, Mr. Kawasaki was director of marketing at Eduware, a software company based in Agoura, Calif. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles and a B.A. in psychology from Stanford University. With some pride, he said: ''I have never taken a computer class in my life.''

Copyright 1987 The New York Times Company