By Tim Palmer
The latest round of cuts at Apple Computer Inc is a dismal signal to the world that the present management does not believe the company has much of a future, but is not interested in selling it. It is not as if the company was cutting development work that was peripheral to Apple’s future – it is cutting some of the very things that justify Apple’s existence and make it a distinctive company, which means it is cutting things simply because it can no longer afford to do them. If the company is to survive as anything other than the next Commodore International Ltd or Atari Corp – each of which took about a decade to die – it has to be as part of a much larger company that can afford to shelter its losses and nurse it back to health. At present, despite its woeful record in computers, about the only US company that fits the bill is Motorola Inc (Apple in its present state would vanish within 18 months as part of IBM Corp), but as Japanese companies are generally prepared to take a much longer view than US ones, it might be better off under either Canon Inc or Sony Corp.