SAN FRANCISCO -- With as much hoopla as they could muster, Apple Computer Inc. and IBM Corp. signed a contract to forge their technology alliance before a crowd of about 500 computer-industry executives, analysts and reporters.
The former archrivals unveiled a technology alliance, the details of which had been among the worst-kept secrets in Silicon Valley since IBM and Apple first announced in July that they would form the alliance.
Executives from both companies confirmed reported details of their partnership yesterday, but offered little new information. Instead, they produced a well-rehearsed show that included testimonials from computer-industry executives.
In the show's climax, Apple chief executive John Sculley and Jack Kuehler, IBM's president and chief operating officer, signed the agreement while cameras flashed and the audience cheered.
Analysts said that the alliance will help Apple sell more of its Macintosh computers to large corporations -- a market that has for the most part eluded the computer maker.
The alliance calls for Apple to let IBM use elements of its Macintosh screen displays, which make the computer easy to use.
This is the first time Apple has allowed another hardware maker to use its Mac technology. IBM hopes this will help it compete more effectively with Sun Microsystems, the leading workstation maker.
The alliance includes three technical collaborations and two jointly owned companies:
* Apple and IBM will form a joint-venture company, called Taligent. It will create computer-operating software that uses a new technology that speeds development of applications programs.
The software is based on a program that Apple has been working on for at least three years, called Pink. IBM and Apple plan to use the software in future computers, and
Taligent will make it available to other computer makers. If Apple and IBM can establish it as a broad standard, it would be easier for them to sell their own computers.
* A second joint venture, called Kaleida, will create multimedia computers that combine text, sound, video and animation on a computer screen. Both companies plan to use Kaleida's technology, and Kaleida will make it available to other computer makers. Apple and IBM hope to spur development of multimedia computers by offering a set of standard technologies around which computer makers can build machines.
* Apple and IBM will create products that make it easier to connect Macintosh computers to networks of IBM mainframes, minicomputers and PS/2 personal computers. Apple hopes they will make it easier to sell Macintosh computers to corporations that use large IBM networks.
* Apple and IBM will collaborate with Motorola Inc. to produce aversion of IBM's RS/6000 microprocessor. The chips, to be called Power PC, are based on an advanced technology that IBM pioneered -- reduced-instruction-set-computing, or RISC -- to make computers run faster. Motorola will manufacture the chips for Apple's Macs, and for other computer makers for advanced desktop machines.
Sculley said that eventually all Apple Macintosh computers will use Power PC chips, instead of the Motorola 68000 chips.