As gossip on Wall Street focuses on a number of 35% of the workforce for the swingeing new lay-offs Apple Computer Inc is planning for a week today, Computer Reseller News hears that the company is considering shooting itself in the foot again by raising the fees it charges Macintosh clone makers to license Mac OS. We are looking at it and rethinking it with our licensees, acknowledged Guerrino DeLuca, executive vice-president of marketing. We may raise the price (under certain contractual provisions) and lower it in others. Absurdly, sources at Apple told the paper the fees could soar, and that under one proposal being floated at Apple, clone makers would pay Apple $100 to $1,100 per system sold, at which point the game would no longer be worth the candle, and the market share clonemakers have been clawing back for Apple would be lost again. The change in licensing terms is bound up with the Tempo release of Mac OS due in the summer, which the company now says is a significant enough upgrade to be called a System 8 release. A 35% lay-off would come very close to the 5,000 figure that has been analysts’ worst-case guess, and Gil Amelio will get no marks for stretching out the agony and leaving staff in limbo for so long, and all the signs are that the knives are being sharpened only a year after he arrived.
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