BOSTON -- Given the state of Hawaii's economy, it's interesting to look at recent happenings at Apple Computer. Until this week, Apple's fortunes seemed even bleaker than ours -- at least Hawaii has been muddling along while the Cupertino, Calif. company has seen losses mount and revenues slide toward the bottom of the page.
A man, a plan,
Enter a white knight -- father of the Macintosh and company co-founder, Steve Jobs. Tuesday, Jobs addressed Macintosh users gathered in the Hub for MacWorld Expo, an annual trade show where manufacturers of the latest Mac hardware, software and accessories show it off to 50,000 of the "Faithful," as Mac users call themselves.
Years ago, Jobs lost a boardroom battle over Apple's strategic direction, quit his job, sold all his Apple stock and started a new company. Now he runs Pixar, a computer animation and motion-picture special effects enterprise.
Tuesday morning, Jobs announced a rebuilt Apple board of directors on which he will sit. Then he dropped a bomb: He had enlisted Bill Gates to invest $150 million in non-voting Apple stock and guarantee that Microsoft will continue to write programs for the Mac.
Since that speech, Apple stock has almost doubled in value. While many Mac owners see a partnership with Microsoft as capitulation to The Forces of Darkness, investors clearly see it as an instant turn-around. Both are probably wrong, but the message for Hawaii is that the right leadership, the right partnerships and a bold plan can make all the difference.