October 29, 1996

Letters Editor
U.S. News & World Report
2400 N Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037-1196

Dear Editor:

Randall Stross' Oct. 28 article, "Question for Apple: To Be or Not to Be?" recounts the occasion when Apple Chairman and CEO Dr. Gilbert Amelio waved a Mag-Lite flashlight "admiringly" during an employee meeting. Sounds reasonable enough. Only problem is that Dr. Amelio has never been seen in possession of a flashlight, Mag-Lite or otherwise, at an employee gathering. Though it might seem a somewhat trivial issue, Mr. Stross' Mag-Lite inaccuracy is one of several points in the piece in which he appears to be fumbling in the dark. Allow me to shine some light on matters of Mag-Lites and Apple.

Mr. Stross appears lost in the shadows when discussing Apple's operating software (OS). He consistently refers to an Apple OS product code-named "Copland" that will be released from Apple by 1998. Not true. Apple at one time did have an OS under development that came to be known as Copland, but that product ceased to exist when Apple publicly -- and widely -- announced a new OS strategy last August. Our new strategy aims to keep OS development nimble enough to stay ahead of customer needs, especially in the fast-moving era of the Internet and corporate intranets, and deliver compelling solutions more rapidly.

Perhaps Mr. Stross was blinded by the light of our profitable fourth fiscal quarter, ended Sept. 27. How else to explain his odd characterization of Apple's alleged strategy to sell products only at a "premium price"? Yes, Dr. Amelio has said that Apple can follow a premium product/premium price model for some systems, but those are primarily high-end desktops for advanced publishing and design applications. One need look no further than Apple's Oct. 17 Performa desktop product announcement to see that Apple is serious about competing on the low-priced, entry-level systems front. With the new line of Performas, Apple for the first time has systems that cost less than similarly equipped computers based on Intel's Pentium microprocessor -- hardly a premium-only pricing strategy.

I guess Mr. Stross could have used his own Mag-Lite when he claimed that Apple's not able to attract software developers to its platform. Apple has an incredibly strong and loyal developer base. In fact, Apple has more Macintosh developers now than at any time in its history -- more than 15,000! Apple's commitment to its developer base is stronger than ever, with $20 million earmarked for developer relations programs in the next year. Apple is also working to ensure that its developers will be able to work seamlessly with the popular Java development environment, having joined forces with Sun Microsystems recently in a collaboration agreement.


Christopher J. Escher
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Apple Computer, Inc.
1 Infinite Loop MS: 76-4PR
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 974-2202