In a move that surprised all but the cagiest industry analysts, it was announced this week that Apple Computer, Inc., had been acquired by Pixar Animation Studios. Apple promptly laid off its entire development staff, plus David Krathwohl and the whole Developer Relations department, hiring in their place on permanent retainer a number of film stars including Jim Carrey, Jeff Goldblum, Roy Scheider, and others who have been seen using Apple computers in movies over the years. According to former CEO (now Vice President of Rhetorical Affairs) Gil Amelio, Apple will henceforth confine its activities to star-studded, high-tech animated multimedia presentations at conventions and stockholder meetings.
“This was the real reason we bought NeXT [Software, Inc.], but we couldn’t announce it until the details were finalized,” Amelio said. “We needed to leverage the animation expertise of Pixar, and this was the only way Steve [Steven P. Jobs, CEO of both NeXT and Pixar] was going to let us at it. We save NeXT, he saves Apple: it was a simple quid pro quo.”
“It was a completely logical move, which I’d been contemplating ever since I joined the board of directors [in 1994],” Amelio went on. “I looked at Apple’s work over the last five years or so and saw immediately that Apple was really in the business of giving demos about technology that they never had and never intended to release. People were shelling out big bucks to watch this stuff at Macworld Expo and the World Wide Developers Conference. For a while early on it had looked like folks might catch on to the fact that all the so-called demos were just animations, but we started interspersing occasional screen shots of MacsBug and the critics went wild.”
“Meanwhile, the actual development effort had become a complete financial sinkhole,” Amelio continued. “I realized quickly that we could save a lot of time and expenditure by cutting development out altogether. Computers and entertainment have been linked from the start; Apple has been marketing computer-based fiction for years and now we’re going into it full time.”
Ellen Hancock, executive vice president of research and development, will remain with Apple to help plan the scenarios of future animations, in which Apple, in an ongoing soap opera, will portray a Silicon Valley corporation desperately coming up with ever-whackier technologies in an effort to stay afloat. Hancock will be assisted by Walter S. Mossberg, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, who will serve as chief editor and head writer.
Apple’s move was enthusiastically received by the press, who, in a frenzy of interviewing one another as usual after the press conference, looked forward to ripping Apple’s new fictional company to shreds. Steve Jobs, now CEO of Apple as well as Pixar and NeXT, was unavailable for comment.