Too Small To R ecover

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Apple Computer's latest plans to lay off 2,700 employees (25 percent of its payroll) are a dicey gamble. Having sliced its staff in half since 1995, th e struggling computermaker must now pray that it can keep the workers it needs to think its way out of the tiny corner of the market where it cowers, says San Francisco Bureau Chief Dave Jackson. While Apple CEO Gilbert Emilio insists that the company w ill return to profitability by year's end, that's not really the point in a business where rapid innovation is survival, and where fewer and fewer software firms see any reason to create exciting new programs for a company that has become a niche player.