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Apple's year of profit heralds company's comeback


Apple Computer is back.

The was the message broadcast loudly and clearly at a press conference this week by Apple Computer Interim CEO Steve Jobs.

The company -- on the brink of financial ruin 18 months ago -- will post its fourth consecutive profitable quarter, Job said.

The company's latest product, the iMac, has been the company's fastest-selling product, Jobs said.

The company sold 278,000 of the consumer-oriented computers during the first six weeks they were available.

Forty percent of those who bought one of the new iMacs was a newcomer to the Macintosh ranks, according to an Apple survey.

Nearly 30 percent of iMac buyers were first-time computer buyers; 12.5 percent of iMac buyers were former Windows users.

NEW APPLE OS. Wile the iMac news was important, Jobs' other announcement last week overshadowed the company's return to profitability.

The new Apple Macintosh operating system software is being released this weekend, and according to Jobs, it is the "biggest software release Apple has shipped in years."

In fact, OS 8.5 will be such a large upgrade it could be called "Mac OS 9.0," he said.

OS 8.5 will include Sherlock, a new search/system find component.

Sherlock is aimed at improving Internet users' ability to track down information. Consider it to be a turbocharged version of the current "Find" function.

And information "hits" returned in a search by Sherlock is ranked by relevance -- meaning you'll be more likely to find what you need more quickly.

Mac OS 8.5 also features improvements in other areas, including a quick install that is aimed at taking 15 minutes tops.

For more details on Sherlock and Mac OS 8.5, visit Apple Computer's Web site at www.apple.com.

NETSCAPE WINS ONE. A new study reports that Web browser pioneer is far from losing the battle for top browsing software.

That's according to a study released last Thursday by Zona Research.

While Netscape's market share is slipping overall, Netscape Navigator is still ahead of Internet Explorer in corporate America.

The study attributes the increased market share to Netscape's decision to give away its browser at no charge.

The study was compiled with information from 113 companies, and showed Navigator on about 60 percent of all corporate desktops.

AOL WEB. The nation's largest online service recently rolled out its new Web site at www.aol.com.

The site has taken on more of a "portal" appearance: you'll find numerous links to news, weather, sports, investment, financial news and plenty of places to go for fun.

The part that might attract average Web surfers is the link to download the new AOL software, AOL 4.0. Previously, the software was only available for download from within the AOL service.

WOMEN MOVING UP. Women over age 50 are the fastest growing segment of Internet users, according to a recent Nielsen Media Research and CommerceNet study.

Between October and June, women over 50 accounted for nearly 5 million new Internet users.

More than a third of adult Americans use the Internet, an increase of more than 18 million in just nine months, the study said.

Other fast-growing groups of users include African Americans, Native Americans and young adults ages 16 to 24.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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