Key Apple defection; bigger layoffs than expected loom

Macro Landi, executive vice president for worldwide sales and support at Apple Computer Inc., and the man chosen to lead Apple back into the black, has chosen to leave Apple. Landi is the most senior executive to leave Apple during the recent employee exodus. He was originally hired to be Apple’s COO, but lost the title to a former NeXT employee when the company’s reorganization was announced earlier this month. Recent defections leave Apple’s executive ranks heavy with former NeXT employees as Steve Jobs, former NeXT CEO, grabs more power within Apple.

“It looks like Jobs is going to run the company,” says Kim Brown, DataQuest analyst. Now, all eyes are turning toward Ellen Hancock, who also lost a key R&D position to a NeXT employee during the re-org. She has frequently clashed with Jobs as well,igniting rumors that she will leave next.

An interesting rumor has Steve Jobs pushing Gil Amelio to support the Intel CPUs and drop the PowerPC. NeXT never got NeXTStep to work on the PowerPC line and dropped the project years ago. An Intel version, however, is still selling and it would require far less work to get Rhapsody going on Intel than it would on the PowerPC. Dropping PowerPC would be an interesting—and potentially disastrous—move, both for Apple and Motorola. Another problem facing NeXT and Apple engineers is that NeXTStep was never redesigned for multi-processor support, a must-have feature in the next-generation Apple OS.

In other Apple news, USA Today is reporting that Apple’s layoffs—still some weeks away—will be much higher than initially reported: 4,000 to 5,000 employees will be let go, not the expected 3,000

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