PALO ALTO — Apple Computer Inc.'s chief scientist, Lawrence Tesler, has left the computer maker for a start-up software company just as Apple is about to unveil a new business strategy.
Tesler, who headed Apple's research and development efforts and guided its technical direction, left Apple on Thursday to serve as president of Cocoa Software, which writes children's programs.
Tesler's departure comes at an awkward time for Apple as the Cupertino-based computer maker prepares to unveil today part of a new management team, new products and possibly a revamped business strategy at the Macworld trade show in Boston.
Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder who returned to the company in December as an advisor, is expected to announce the appointment of new computer-savvy members to the board of directors. Apple executives could not be immediately reached for comment.
Apple had cut back on its research and development amid Jobs' influence and heavy losses. In recent months, Apple has concentrated its technical resources on making less expensive personal computers geared for publishing and educational markets.
The company is experiencing tension with manufacturers of Macintosh clones. Apple began licensing its Mac technology to other computer makers about two years ago, and clone makers have cut into Apple's sales.
Joel Kocher, chief executive of the biggest clone maker, Power Computing Corp., publicly blasted Apple for dragging out software licensing talks, and he specifically criticized Jobs for what he called his hostility toward licensing.