Apple?s management team, under beleaguered chief executive Gil Amelio, faced a tirade of criticism from the former head of Apple Japan this week, who said there was "chaos" at senior levels within the company.
Tetsuya Shiga, who resigned as head of Apple Japan two weeks ago after refusing to lay off 10 per cent of the subsidiary?s 300 staff, broke ranks on Thursday to accuse the Apple board of poor marketing and an inability to come up with a coherent business plan and stick with it.
His outburst comes at an unfortunate time for Apple bosses in the US, who have been trying to shore up confidence in the company against a backdrop of sliding market share in the region. Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison is known to be seeking the backing of Japanese investors for his threatened hostile takeover bid and Shiga?s criticism of the current management is likely to strengthen his case.
Shiga claimed that sales in the region were hampered by the inability of the US operation to ship products on time to Japan. He cited the instance of a high end Performa machine, which was annuonced in October but did not arrive in Japan until after Christmas.
He also complained that the restructuring of the company in recent months - following massive losses and the acquisition of Next Software and its management team - had confused the chains of command and communication. "By the end, I didn?t know who I was supposed to be talking to," he said.
Apple has named former marketing manager Eiko Harada as Shiga?s successor, but his appointment was fraught with difficulty. Harada told reporters in Tokyo that he had intended to quit the company after telling employees that he was not certain about Apple?s future. He took up the new post only after pressure from Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.
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