2002 was not an easy year for Apple: layoffs, albeit limited and compensated, drop in sales in the desktop field, the weak European and Asian markets have imposed particular attention on resource management and continue to impose caution for the future.
The details of the managerial, fiscal, and organizational life of the last few months are meticulously 'radiographed' in the SEC, the document that every publicly traded company obliged to present to the authorities that manage the Wall Street market.
From the very long document we draw a real history of Cupertino over the past 12 months, a history that, as we have mentioned, full of challenges that continue today in the field of employment, technological competition and innovation efforts.
For example, Apple confirms that it laid off over 600 employees during 2002; but more than a reduction, the actual staff was a sort of restructuring of the internal organization, given that in the end the overall number of workers increased, especially thanks to new hires in retail stores.
Coming to turnover Apple notes an increase in turnover (of 7%) compared to the previous year; growth driven essentially by software, services and other sources which rose 26%. The merit is almost all of the iPod which made a turnover of 143 million dollars. But laptops also did well in terms of turnover.
Apple does not deny that sales in terms of units have actually been flat compared to the previous year. This is mainly due to the weakness of foreign markets.
The old continent, in particular, punished Cupertino severely with a drop in sales of 31% (-32% in terms of units) and 40% in the consumer field. The only flash of light comes from the iBook which has seen its sales grow by 27% in Europe.
In general, however, desktop sales did not go well. Apple attributes the weakness of the market to the slowness with which Mac OS X is adopted, a phenomenon that in turn caused by the reluctance with which some third parties have set to work on versions for the new operating system (Quark first of all). The sales of desktop systems is indicated by Apple as a crucial factor for a solid recovery in sales and to which the ability of some suppliers to support Cupertino's efforts will not be extraneous.
Companies such as Motorola and IBM are explicitly mentioned in this context and processor speed as a limiting factor. In fact, Apple believes it is penalized by many current and potential customers due to the unfavorable relationship that occurs on the speed in MegaHertz towards the PC world.
Apple also points to the educational sector as crucial and in a time as even the most difficult. Sales fell by 15% mainly due to the pressure exerted by companies that sell low-cost PCs to institutions increasingly struggling with economic problems.
In this context, Apple has decided to cut staff and cancel some PowerSchool products. A total of 180 layoffs were made.
During 2002 Cupertino increased its investments in research and development by $ 16 million, which now amount to $ 446 million. Much of this money, Cupertino points out, was destined for PowerSchool but especially for Jaguar.