"When China pirates American products, it is taking the ideas, the enterprise, and the jobs of these industries and the workers they represent. We will not tolerate that."--Charlene Barshefsky, acting U.S. Trade Representative, imposing retaliatory tariffs on Chinese productsEDITED BY LISA SANDERSReturn to top
AT APPLE, A DEMOCRACY OF ONE
CEO GILBERT AMELIO IS attacking the core of Apple Computer's culture: a notorious overdevotion to consensus. (A favorite Apple inside joke: "A vote can be 14,000 to 1 and it's still a tie.") Amelio's more autocratic approach was evident at his May 13 presentation to software developers.
Very few top Apple managers were prebriefed on Amelio's announcements at the crowded meeting. A joint project with IBM to manufacture and market a new subnotebook came as news to one laptop executive. A top publicrelations staffer had not heard a peep about a limited-edition 20th anniversary Apple computer rolling out later this year. Amelio's plan to sell a Pippin set-top box in the U.S. under Apple's own brand surprised one marketing executive. Moreover, some top brass claimed they were clueless as to whom Amelio will tap to run the six newly created internal divisions identified in his speech.
One implication is that more Apple higher-ups may be going their own way. Even Amelio admits that he still is not content with the management team. "We don't have the depth we need...pretty much across the board," he told BUSINESS WEEK.EDITED BY LISA SANDERS Peter BurrowsReturn to top
IN LIKE A LION, OUT LIKE A LAMB
DREYFUS CORP., WHOSE prowling-lion TV ads helped it grab business in money-market and bond mutual funds, wants to be king of the equity-fund jungle. But some cosmetics are involved.
Dreyfus does have stuff to brag about. Since its 1994 merger with Mellon Bank, the firm has hired new fund managers and expanded research. It has rolled out 19 new funds and adopted 10 others. The eight-month-old Dreyfus Aggressive Growth Fund, up 64% this year, is a top performer.
Then there is the 10-year-old Dreyfus Capital Value Fund. Throughout the '90s' bull market, its managers avoided stocks in favor of such things as cash, gold, and bonds. The fund is up less than 2% this year, well behind broad market indexes. Worse, Capital Value lost 3.1% in 1995 and 3.9% in 1994, when its bearishness should have paid off.
Now, Dreyfus is distancing itself from Capital Value by asking shareholders to approve changing the name to Comstock Partners Capital Value Fund. The fund's longtime money manager, Comstock Partners, is currently listed as the fund's subadviser. Comstock would become the adviser and Dreyfus the subadviser. The fund's new name "more appropriately reflects the respective roles" of the two companies, Dreyfus says.EDITED BY LISA SANDERS Jeffrey LadermanReturn to top
MICKEY MOUSE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY?
WALT DISNEY IS LAYING ON some computer industry brainpower by signing up W. Daniel Hillis. The 39-year-old co-founder of once highflying supercomputer maker Thinking Machines recently became the first-ever Disney Fellow.
Hillis, a PhD in computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will head the Walt Disney Imagineering unit. Imagineering, created in 1952 by Walt Disney to spearhead development of the original Disneyland theme park, is the heart of company operations. It is, for instance, the birthplace of audioanimatronics and such things as the talking Abe Lincoln robot.
Hillis is the first of what Disney hopes will be several high-technology fellows. In Hillis' case, he will apply computer technology to Disney-style showmanship. "Disney is about magic," says Hillis. While working as a consultant, Hillis helped develop a virtual-reality ride at Disneyland based on the Aladdin animated film. Future assignments could include Internet content as well as shows.EDITED BY LISA SANDERS By Paul EngReturn to top