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FORUM

The most notorious rivalry in computing ended last week when Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. formed an alliance. The agreement included a $150-million investment by Microsoft plus a commitment to continue making software for Apple, which has lost more than $1.5 billion over the past 18 months. The Business Journal Forum asks:

Can Apple Computer be saved by Microsoft?

Bob Zellin

Product manager

DI-NO Computers

I don’t know if you want to call it saved. Half of Apple’s survival depends on the public’s confidence, and you could see by the stock market’s response that the confidence is now there.

For Microsoft, this certainly wasn’t a big financial investment but it lends the support that Apple needs to recover.

Jack Brumfield

Senior vice president

Stoorza Ziegaus Metzger public relations

Certainly Microsoft has the financial resources to turn Apple around. If anyone in the industry could do it, it would be Microsoft.

It will be interesting to see the melding of the two cultures, because the response from Apple employees so far has been rather hostile.

Steve Crosby

Director of external affairs

L.A. Cellular

Absolutely. You’re marrying a company that essentially started the computer industry with $150 million – and I’m sure more money down the line.

Apple may be a different company after this it may focus on different products – but it ultimately will be a more powerful company.

Barrie Segall

Associate director

Executive Service Corp. management consulting firm

I think so, because it’s in Microsoft’s best interest that Apple survives. For a number a reasons, they’re not going to let it go under.

More important than the financial commitment is the people on the board of directors. They are significant resources, and now the company has a much-needed injection of leadership.

The industry and stock market are really behind this it’s not just Bill Gates. And broad support is crucial to Apple’s recovery.

Mitch Kitayama

First vice president and asset liability manager

East West Bank

I don’t think so. This will probably help stabilize the company for awhile, but it’s not the be all, end all.

Microsoft isn’t doing this out of the kindness of its heart. It gets to put its (World Wide Web) browser on the machines, and they’ll probably get to see new Apple applications in advance.

The race between Apple and Microsoft has been set in stone for awhile, ever since Microsoft unveiled Windows ’95. Apple hasn’t hit the market with anything innovative for years.

Ed Bannigan


Regional systems manager

Oce-Office Systems

Yes, although this particular investment in and of itself isn’t going to save Apple. It’s going to take more money than this, but it’s a sign that Microsoft wants Apple to survive. And it’s important that they do, because competition is a good thing especially in the computer industry. The relationships between the companies are so symbiotic.

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