The reverse takeover of Apple Computer Inc looks almost complete with news that co-founder and strategic advisor Steve Jobs will have an expanded role in the company while it conducts a search to replace chairman and CEO Gil Amelio and former CTO Ellen Hancock who packed their bags and slunk off of the Infinite Loop yesterday. If Apple’s headhunting committee can’t find a replacement – and who is equal to the task? – will Jobs’ role as key advisor to Apple board and executive team be formalized we wonder? CFO Fred Anderson assumes day-to-day duties, while Hancock’s responsibilities, or at least what was left of them after the most recent re-org (CI No 3,095) are split between hardware SVP Jon Rubenstein and software SVP and ex-Next engineer Avie Tevanian. The questions is why it took so long for Ameilo and Hancock to be shown the door and why did anyone think Hancock could lead Apple’s technology development in the first place; doesn’t anyone check references these days? During ‘turnaround specialist’ Amelio’s 16-month tenure the company lost some $1.57bn on revenue of around $10bn, shed thousands of jobs, saw its share of the worldwide PC market slip to 3.1% from 5.8% and its share price collapse to a 12-year low of $13.68, valuing the company at a lowly $1.7bn. And that’s not counting its third quarter numbers due next Wednesday. Analysts forecast Apple will report a loss of $0.54 a share which translates into a loss of some $68m. System ships slipped by 33% in the second quarter compared with the year before. Far from rescuing Apple, Amelio had pushed the company further into the abyss. At the moment competitors need do nothing to take Apple out of the market – the company is doing a very good job of it all on its own. Apple says that in recent months [it] has made significant progress in addressing the crises which were threatening its viability. Being on the verge of asking customers to migrate to a new operating system technology however, it looks as though is Apple’s very viability is more in question now than ever.