On the eve of the annual Applefest, the Macworld conference in New York, Apple users will be pleased to hear the company has been removed from a leading research company’s “problem watch” listing.
US based Gartner Group, which, since the mid 1990’s had placed Apple on its influential problem watch list for both organisational and financial issues, said it has formally removed the company from this status.
Over the past few years, Apple has suffered several consecutive quarters of losses, a series of senior executives left the company and its market share and stock price hit an all time low.
Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg said poor performing management teams, coupled with lackluster products, ineffective marketing and numerous tactical mistakes were major contributing factors to the company’s problems.
However, he added: “Two of the primary factors accounting for Apple’s turnaround are its newly invigorated product line and its returned focus on its core markets and competencies.”
“In terms of its products, Apple has worked hard to improve the reliability, quality and performance of its hardware and software. We believe that Apple, no longer plagued by embarrassing hardware and software issues, ranks with the best in the industry,” he said.
Gartenberg said a new management team under the leadership of acting chief executive officer Steve Jobs had also put the company back on the road to success.
Jobs is due to kick off proceedings at the annual Macworld conference, running until Friday, in New York tomorrow. The Apple founders’ keynote speech is the traditional platform for making major strategy and product announcements.
Last year, Jobs used his speech to officially launch Apple’s colourful consumer desktop, the iMac. The year before he announced that Microsoft was investing $150 million in the company.
This year, he is expected to launch a new iMac portable computer, update its desktop line and may even announce its re-entry into the handheld market with a range of Apple branded Palm devices.
Despite renewed optimism in the company, Gartenberg still remains cautious about its long term growth prospects.
“Apple has little or now presence in the traditional corporate desktop space, and its prospects for gaining in this space remain small. The emergence of the sub $1,000 PC has made it extremely difficult for Apple, as well as other PC vendors, to compete at the low end of the consumer space and with first time buyers,” he said.
However, he added: “We do see Apple as a viable system provider in the small business and consumer personal computer market, where software availability is not an issue.”
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