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(Japanese Site)

  • Expect Big News From Steve Jobs, Apple Japan Says
  • April 28, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Eiko Harada, president of Apple Computer Japan Inc., said that "a big announcement" can be expected from Steve Jobs, interim CEO of Apple Computer Inc., in a keynote speech Jobs will deliver at the Worldwide Developers Conference, which starts May 11.
    Harada also said that Apple Computer has a strong future.

    "My lips are sealed, and I'm not even sure I know the full story of the announcement to be made by Jobs," Harada said.

    "Apple is on the road to recovery and there's no lack of confidence in the company," he also said.

    Demonstrating his full support in the leadership of Jobs, Harada credited the parent company's improved business performance to "the swift and sound judgment of Steve Jobs."

    In an exclusive interview with Nikkei MAC after his presentation, Harada said, "I'm hoping that Jobs will continue at Apple."

    Harada spoke of two classes of computer users: people who utilize computers for performing routine tasks efficiently and people who use computers for creative work. "The first group might as well use Windows computers. But anyone doing creative work will probably choose a Mac," Harada said.

    The key issues for Apple this year are to build a firm basis in what the company calls its core targets: the PEN (publishing, entertainment, new media) and SED (science, engineering, design) markets.

    Harada also categorized users of personal computers as either "active users" who understand and exploit the features of PCs, or "passive users" who must utilize a PC as a part of their jobs.

    "Apple needs to target the latter group in particular," Harada said.

    In regard to corporate users, a market that the Macintosh has found hard to penetrate, Harada promised a new campaign aimed at "bringing Macs to the attention of people who are not acquainted with our products."

    The idea is to make corporate management teams more aware of the Macintosh, he said.

    While stressing that the focus is on providing Mac solutions to professional people and "prosumers," which are Apple's core targets, Harada also hinted at the possibility of a renewed drive into the consumer market.

    This possibility arises from the online build-to-order (BTO) project. "The failure of the Performa was due to our misreading of user needs and because we got the volume wrong," Harada explained.

    The BTO project is being positioned as an essential service that will also be useful in interpreting market demand.

    However, Apple Japan is not properly equipped with either the infrastructure to manufacture the products or the procedural know-how to handle customer orders, which are essential for implementing a BTO service. Nor is the company near deciding on a start date for getting the project off the ground.

    (Nikkei MAC)

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    Updated: Mon Apr 27 19:16:59 1998