Top execs at Apple are extremely unhappy about recent leaks of information on their hush-hush talks with IBM. Apple had implemented extraordinary security procedures to prevent such leaks. Only a small cadre of executives and technical specialists have been involved in the negotiations -- perhaps no more than 20 people. No one has been allowed to carry around papers related to the proposed deal or use electronic mail to discuss it. Magnetic disks with data related to the talks are erased immediately after use.
As a result, the Apple rank and file know almost nothing of the unfolding negotiations, which were reported late last week to have bogged down. Nevertheless, the secret was leaked. Sources say that Apple's top brass has initiated an investigation to plug the holes.
Although the company is nowhere near as porous as it was when Steve Jobs doled out the confidential information himself, the incident shows that Apple is still "a ship that leaks from the top."
Apple phone. Is there a new phone number in Apple's future -- say 1-800-FOR-MACS?
Apple is intent on increasing its market share and has been slashing prices and expanding its distribution channels in order to do that. Now, word is out that if those efforts don't meet the ambitious goals the company set, Apple has a plan to sell computers directly to customers over the phone.
That sales strategy has been used by Dell Computer to great effect and would mark a major strategy shift for Apple. It would also create competition for Apple's dealers,
who you can expect will call 1-800-TO-GRIPE.
Editor's Act II. The new editor in chief of InfoWorld, the Menlo Park, Calif., computer news weekly, might look familiar to a lot of longtime readers. That's because, besides gracing its pages with a weekly column, well-known industry pundit Stewart Alsop II also has graced the editor in chief's office before.
Mr. Alsop was named to the top editorial spot last week to replace Michael J. Miller, who left to take the top editor's spot at PC Magazine, flagship publication of Ziff-Davis of New York, archrival of InfoWorld's corporate parent, International Data Group of Framingham, Mass.
Mr. Alsop was tapped for the same job in 1983 and led the publication on an ill-fated experiment as a glossy magazine. Two years later, with Mr. Alsop departed to begin his influential PC Letter newsletter, InfoWorld reverted to its original tabloid format.
As part of the deal, Mr. Alsop will get to keep his newsletter, as well as the annual Agenda and Demo conferences he has run for several years. Plenty has changed at InfoWorld in Mr. Alsop's absence: Only one editorial staffer, editor-at-large Scott Mace, remains from his first reign.