Apple Computer Inc. said on
Wednesday it will invest $200 million in Earthlink Network Inc.,
which will be the Internet service provider for Apple's
Steve Jobs, who has led a stunning turnaround at Apple
Computer Inc., has also made his stewardship of the computer
maker a more permanent affair. After 2-1/2 years as ``interim''
chief executive of Apple, Jobs, said he would drop the qualifier
from his title.
"I'm going to be dropping the 'interim' title," Jobs told
the Macworld expo here amid a standing ovation from the crowd of
Apple devotees at San Francisco's cavernous Moscone Centre.
Apple also said it would take a seat on Earthlink's board.
Earthlink, which has about 32.5 million shares, is set to merge
with Mindspring Enterprises Inc., creating the No. 2 Internet
service provider after America Online Inc.
The agreement with Earthlink is similar to a service that
Gateway Inc. - a maker of so-called Wintel personal computers
that use Microsoft software and Intel chips - has been offering
for some time. The largest PC makers have teamed up with
Internet access providers to boost sales through add-on services
amid a brutally competitive PC market.
At the trade show, Jobs also unveiled the delayed Mac OS X,
a completely new version of its well-received operating system
software. It grew out of an earlier version code-named Rhapsody
and will boast a new interface called Aqua.
Apple also revamped its Web site, at www.apple.com, to
include features called iReview, a Web site review guide and
iCards, an electronic greeting card site.
Separately, Microsoft Corp. said it will release its latest
Macintosh-based Internet browser by early March and bundle it
with the next version of Apple's operating system later this
Apple stock jumped 4-13/16 to 107-5/16, defying an earlier
broad sell-off on the tech-heavy Nasdaq index. In late trade,
the index climbed 22.14 to 3,923.83 after earlier falling as low
"Our new iReviews, iCards and the revolutionary iTools
offer amazing new ways for Mac users to take full advantage of
the Internet," Jobs said.
iTools include Kidsafe, a new way to protect children on the
Internet, specifying what they can see rather than trying to
filter out what they shouldn't see. Apple's computers have more
than 50,000 sites it deems safe for children, and is adding
10,000 new sites each month.
Apple also unveiled Mac.com, an e-mail service that the
company plans to run, giving users and exclusive address on the
Internet and works with standard e-mail programmes. Users can
easily set up automatic replies and forwarding of their e-mail
to other addresses.
Apple also is offering something it calls iDisk, which is 20
megabytes of storage on Apple's Internet server computers, and
Apple said it was as easy to use as a folder on the Mac desktop.
HomePage also introduced what Apple called an easy way to
build a personal Web site in less than 10 minutes, which would
then be hosted on Apple's server computers. The iTools services
are free to Macintosh users running Mac OS 9.
Earthlink will become the exclusive Internet service
provider in Apple's Internet setup software included with all
Apple Macintosh computers sold in the U.S.
Mac enthusiasts and others had speculated wildly about the
biannual MacWorld show, at which Jobs typically gives a rousing
speech and takes the wraps off closely guarded secrets. Rumours
for this show, unsubstantiated so far, included a new PowerBook
computer, an iMac with a bigger, 17-inch monitor and a G4 server
computer running two processors.