Apple: Another Bout Of Bad Tidings

Profit pressure may bring layoffs and suitors

Mike Spindler just can't get a break. Instead of celebrating the blowout sales he expected this Christmas quarter, Apple Computer Inc.'s CEO is bracing for a very rough ride. In mid-December, the company warned of a possible loss during the period, and analysts fear the worst--layoffs, projects killed, maybe more losses. Some even say Apple will have little choice but to sell off parts, if not all, of the business. And there are again rumors that Spindler's job is in jeopardy. Says Robertson, Stephens & Co. analyst John T. Rossi, who doesn't foresee profits again until next fall: "Apple is in a tougher spot than it's been in for a long time."

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