Opinion: Back in black – Apple Computer

Opinion: Back in black – Apple Computer – Company Business and Marketing

You’ve got to hand it to him. Steve Jobs has done for Apple what he said he would do – and what many said could not be done.

As our story on Page 1 shows, Apple’s return to the black is only the most obvious sign that the company has turned a corner. Apple – largely through Jobs’ leadership – reinvented itself during the past 12 months. It gave stockholders confidence by appointing a new management team, and it reassured analysts by ruthlessly pruning its product line from 15 to two, focusing solely on the consumer and professional markets. The company rewarded the Mac faithful by delivering (to use Jobs’ own term) kick-ass desktop and laptop G3 computers and gave developers renewed faith in the platform by sensibly redefining its OS strategy. The company’s aggressive marketing campaign recharged its image, torn from neglect in the past four years.

The result? Many Wall Street observers have decided that Apple still means business.

Most of the credit goes to Jobs, who made a series of tough decisions that have persuaded computer buyers, investors, analysts and the press to take a new look at Apple.

We don’t agree with all his decisions. Killing Mac clones, for example, stifled healthy competition, and the one-G3-fits-all strategy alienates some high-end users who really need six-slot machines.

But Jobs set himself to turn Apple around, and he’s done it, producing some great products along the way. Our hat is off to him.

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