Steve Jobs received a standing ovation at the Macworld show on Wednesday after announcing that he was dropping the 'interim' from his title to become Apple's chief executive.
Jobs, who returned to run Apple in 1997 after a 12-year hiatus from the company he jointly founded, will now be the fulltime boss at both Apple and Pixar Animation.
But analysts were not altogether enthusiastic about the move. Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group, said: "The CEO announcement was just something to distract people from the fact that no hardware announcement came from the company."
Since retaking control of Apple in 1997, Jobs has traditionally used his speeches at the semi-annual show to indicate the firm's strategic direction and to roll out new models of Mac computers.
Enderle continued: "This is highly unusual. These are two completely different areas. Pixar, which targets software services to the film industry, and Apple, which sells hardware products to consumers. Two completely different jobs, and I don't think anyone would be foolish enough to try both."
But he added that Jobs had people to support him in both organisations. "He's performing more of a chairman of the board role at Pixar, not the day to day CEO, and not as much as perhaps people think at Apple," he claimed.
At the same time, Jobs also kicked off the conference in San Francisco with good news about the supplier's first fiscal quarter and details regarding version 10 of the MacOS operating system (OS). He also announced that Apple was making a $200 million investment in Earthlink Network.
Under the terms of the multiyear deal, Earthlink will provide Apple customers with Internet access software, support and billing services, while Apple will generate revenues from each subscription. America Online's software is currently bundled with Mac machines.
Jobs also claimed that the MacOS 10 "will bring the Mac legacy into the next century," and will come with a new user interface called Aqua. The OS will be beta tested throughout the second quarter and be preloaded on all systems by January 2001. A client operating system is also scheduled to appear in the third quarter.
As for Apple's first fiscal quarter, which closed at the end of December, Jobs said: "For the first time, we're firing on all cylinders."
He added that the company sold 1.35 million Macs in the quarter - "more Macs than were sold in any quarter in Apple's history. That's one Mac sold every 6 seconds in the quarter," he boasted.
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