Apple chief Steve Jobs is to drag software house Intuit into talks, to persuade it to reverse its pullback from the Mac market.
This week, personal finance applications maker Intuit said it would stop making its Quicken product for the Mac, leading to dismay among investors and Mac users, fearing a loss of faith in the Apple platform.
Aware of the psychological damage of such news at a time when Apple is back in profit, but still suffering from question marks over its future, Jobs made a strong statement the annual shareholders' meeting yesterday. "We didn't get in Intuit's face and tell them how we plan to re-enter the consumer market," he said.
He said he will hold talks with Bill Campbell, Intuit's chief executive - a friend of Jobs who is also on the Apple board - and told shareholders to "expect a joint press release next week".
Even if Intuit does a U-turn on its Mac plans, Apple is likely to become a less important part of its strategy. Its main focus now is on Web based finance applications that allow users to do personal banking and accounting online, from any computer, or even a television, equipped with a browser.
The company already has a deal to develop such software for set-top boxes made by cable giant TCI.
And all Jobs' aggressive statements cannot change the fact that even software companies that have made their business on the Mac platform are frequently seeing their Windows versions leaping ahead. Last year, even Mac stalwarts Macromedia and Adobe saw their Wintel products outselling their Apple versions, and one of Jobs' key tasks now is to make positive moves to entice the developer community back to the Mac environment.
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