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Steve Jobs Likely To Rejoin Apple

Apple Computer Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, who oversaw the creation of its Macintosh before his bitter ouster more than a decade ago, may return to help revitalize the Mac’s aging software.

In what would be a remarkable reunion, the company reportedly plans to hire Jobs as a part-time consultant and pay a nominal fee for the operating system developed by Next Software Inc. - the company Jobs founded after leaving Apple.

The Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that Apple was to announce its renewed ties with Jobs on Friday. But two hours after the close of financial markets, there was still no announcement from Apple, and calls to the Cupertino, Calif., company were not returned. A Next spokeswoman declined comment.

An Apple-Next deal, if signed, means that Next beat Be Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. for the job of helping Apple develop a new operating system.

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