This Sunday, on the 1st of April, multinational technology giant Apple Inc. celebrates 42 years of existence. Initially targeting the computer hardware and software market, the enterprise was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne with the purpose of developing and selling Apple I, Wozniak’s personal computer model. Gradually expanding its range of products to consumer electronics and online services, it took the pioneering venture less than half a century to become the world’s largest IT company by revenue and the second largest smartphone manufacturer after Samsung.
To wish a happy anniversary to the creators of game-changing devices like the Mac, iPhone, and iPod, let’s retrace the major milestones of their journey since establishment till present.
Four years after its foundation, Apple Computer Inc. went public at $22 per share, which generated the greatest capital that any IPO had done since Ford Motor Company in 1956, making 300 people millionaires overnight. Throughout its activity, the company has seen numerous executive job shuffles, with all three co-founders leaving the board in the early stages and only Jobs to return in 1997 and oversee the rebuilding and consolidation of Apple’s status.
Established on April 1, 1976 in Cupertino, California and incorporated January 3, 1977 the company was previously named Apple Computer, Inc., for its first 30 years, but removed the word “Computer” on January 9, 2007, to reflect the company’s ongoing expansion into the consumer electronics market in addition to its traditional focus on personal computers. Apple holds 46,600 full-time employees and 2,800 temporary full-time employees worldwide and had worldwide annual sales of $65.23 billion.
For reasons as various as its philosophy of comprehensive aesthetic design to its distinctive advertising campaigns, Apple has established a unique reputation in the consumer electronics industry. This includes a customer base that is devoted to the company and its brand, particularly in the United States.
1976 – 1980: The Early Years
Apple was established on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne to sell the Apple I personal computer kit. They were hand-built by Wozniak. The Apple I was sold as a motherboard (with CPU, RAM, and basic textual-video chips)—less than what is today considered a complete personal computer. The Apple I went on sale in July 1976 and was market-priced at $ 666.66.
Apple was incorporated January 3, 1977, without Wayne, who sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. A multi-millionaire provided essential business expertise and funding of $250,000 during the incorporation of Apple.
The Apple II was introduced on April 16, 1977. The Apple II was chosen to be the desktop platform for the first “killer app” of the business world—the VisiCalc Spreadsheet. VisiCalc created a business market for the Apple II, and gave home users an additional reason to buy an Apple II—compatibility with the office.
By the end of the 1970s, Apple had a staff of computer designers and a production line. The company introduced the ill-fated Apple III in May 1980 in an attempt to compete with IBM and Microsoft in the business and corporate computing market.
Jobs and several Apple employees including Jef Raskin visited Xerox PARC in December 1979 to see the Xerox Alto. Here, Jobs was immediately convinced that all future computers would use a graphical user interface (GUI), and development of a GUI began for the Apple Lisa.
1981 – 1985: Lisa & Macintosh
Although Steve Jobs began working on the Apple Lisa in 1978, he was pushed from the Lisa team in 1982. Jobs took over the low-cost-computer project, Macintosh. A turf war broke out between Lisa’s “corporate shirts” and Jobs’ “pirates” over which product would ship first and save Apple. Lisa won the race in 1983 and became the first personal computer sold to the public with a GUI (Graphical User Interface), but was a commercial failure due to its high price tag and limited software titles. In 1984, Apple next launched the Macintosh. Its debut was announced by the now famous $1.5 million television commercial “1984”. It was directed by Ridley Scott and now is considered a watershed event for Apple’s success and a “masterpiece”.
The Macintosh initially sold well, but follow-up sales were not strong due to its high price and limited range of software titles. The machine’s fortunes changed with the introduction of the Laser Writer, the first PostScript laser printer to be offered at a reasonable price point, and PageMaker, an early desktop publishing package.
In 1985, a power struggle developed between Jobs and CEO John Sculley, who had been hired two years prior. The Apple board of directors instructed Sculley to “contain” Jobs and limit his ability’s Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT Inc the same year.
1986 – 1993: Rise and fall
During this time Apple experimented with a number of other failed consumer targeted products Enormous resources were also invested in the problem-plagued division but ultimately, all of this proved too-little-too-late for Apple as their market share and stock prices continued to slide.
Apple saw the Apple II series as too expensive to produce while taking away sales from the low-end Macintosh. In 1990, Apple released the Macintosh LC with a single expansion slot for the Apple IIe Card to migrate Apple II users to the Macintosh platform. Apple stopped selling the Apple IIe in 1993.
Having learned several painful lessons after introducing the bulky Macintosh Portable in 1989, Apple introduced the PowerBook in 1991, which established the modern form factor and ergonomic layout of the laptop computer. The Macintosh Portable was designed to be just as powerful as a desktop Macintosh but weighed 17 pounds with a 12-hour battery life. The same year, Apple introduced System 7, which added color to the interface and introduced new networking capabilities. It remained the architectural basis for MacOS until 2001.
1994 – 1997: reinventing Apple?
In 1994, Apple allied with IBM and Motorola in the AIM alliance. The goal was to create a new computing platform which would use IBM and Motorola hardware coupled with Apple’s software. The same year, Apple introduced the Power Macintosh, the first of many Apple computers to use IBM’s Power PC processor.
In 1996, Michael Spindler was replaced as CEO. Gil Amelio made many changes at Apple, including massive layoffs. After multiple failed attempts to improve Mac OS, Amelio chose to purchase Next and its NeXTSTEP operating system, bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple as an advisor. On July 9, 1997, Gil Amelio was ousted by the board of directors who asked Jobs to be the interim CEO. Jobs began restructuring the company’s product line.
At the 1997 Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs announced that Apple would join Microsoft to release new versions of Microsoft Office for the Macintosh and that Microsoft made a $150 million investment in non-voting Apple stock.
On November 10, 1997, Apple introduced the Apple Store, tied to a new build-to-order manufacturing strategy.
1998 – 2005: The Apple Profit
On August 15, 1998, Apple introduced a new all-in-one computer reminiscent of the Macintosh 128K: the iMac. The iMac featured modern technology and a unique design. It sold close to 800,000 units in its first five months.
Through this period, Apple purchased several companies to create a portfolio of professional and consumer-oriented digital production software.
- In 1998, Apple announced the purchase of Macromedia’s Final Cut software, signaling its expansion into the digital video editing market.
- In 1999, Apple released two video editing products: iMovie for consumers, and Final Cut Pro for professionals
- In 2002 Apple purchased Nothing Real for their advanced digital compositing application Shake as well as Emagic for their music productivity application Logic, which led to the development of their consumer-level Garageband application. iPhoto’s release the same year completed the iLife suite
Mac OS X was released on March 24, 2001, after several years of development. Aimed at consumers and professionals alike, Mac OS X aimed to combine the stability, reliability, and security of Unix.
On May 19, 2001, Apple opened the first official Apple Retail Stores in Virginia andon July 9, they bought Spruce Technologies, a DVD authoring company.
The same year, Apple introduced the iPod a portable digital audio player. The product was phenomenally successful — over 100 million units were sold within six years. In 2003, Apple’s iTunes Store was introduced, offering online music downloads for $0.99 a song and integration with the iPod. The service quickly became the market leader in online music services, with over 5 billion downloads by June 19, 2008.
2005 -2007: Intel entering the Apple field
At the 2005 Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address, Steve Jobs announced that Apple would begin producing Intel-based Mac computers in 2006. On January 10, 2006, the new MacBook Pro and iMac became the first Apple computers to use Intel’s Core Duo CPU. By August 7, 2006, Apple had transitioned the entire Mac product line to Intel chips. The older Apple brands were retired during the transition.
Apple also introduced Boot Camp to help users install Windows XP or Vista on their Intel Macs alongside Mac OS X.
Apple’s success during this period was evident in its stock price. Between early 2003 and 2006, the price of Apple’s stock increased more than tenfold, from around $6 per share (split-adjusted) to over $80.
Although Apple’s market share in computers has grown, it remains far behind competitors using Microsoft Windows, with only about 8% of desktops and laptops in the U.S.
2007–2011: Mobile consumer electronics
From January 9, 2007, Apple Computer, Inc. would be known as Apple Inc., due to the fact that computers are no longer the singular focus of the company. This change reflects the company’s shift of emphasis to mobile electronic devices from personal computers. The event also saw the announcement of the iPhone and AppleTV. The following day, Apple shares hit $97.80, an all-time high at that point. In May, Apple’s share price passed the $100 mark.
In an article posted on Apple’s website on February 6, 2007, Steve Jobs wrote that Apple would be willing to sell music on the iTunes Store without DRM (which would allow tracks to be played on third-party players) if record labels would agree to drop the technology. On April 2, 2007, Apple and EMI jointly announced the removal of DRM technology from EMI’s catalog in the iTunes Store, effective inrecord labels followed later that year.
In July of the following year, Apple launched the App Store to sell third-party applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Within a month, the store sold 60 million applications and brought in $1 million daily on average, with Jobs speculating that the App Store could become a billion-dollar business for Apple.
On January 14, 2009, an internal Apple memo from Jobs announced that he would be taking a six-month leave of absence, until the end of June 2009, to allow him to better focus on his health and to allow the company to better focus on its products without having the rampant media speculating about his health. Despite Jobs’ absence, Apple recorded its best non-holiday quarter (Q1 FY 2009) during the recession with a revenue of $8.16 billion and a profit of $1.21 billion
On January 27, 2010Apple announced a large screen, tablet-like media device known as the iPad. The iPad runs the same touch-based operating system that the iPhone uses and many of the same iPhone apps are compatible with the iPad. Later that year on April 3, 2010, the iPad was launched in the US and sold more than 300,000 units on that day and reaching 500,000 by the end of the first week. In May 2010, Apple’s market cap exceeded that of competitor Microsoft for the first time since 1989.
In June 2010, Apple released the fourth generation iPhone, which introduced video calling, multitasking, and a new uninsulated stainless steel design, which acts as the phone’s antenna. In September 2010, Apple refreshed its iPod line of MP3 players, In October 2010, Apple shares hit an all-time high, eclipsing $300. Additionally, on October 20, Apple updated their MacBook Air, iLife suite of applications, and unveiled Mac OS X Lion.
2011 – present: Post Steve Jobs Era
At WWDC in June 2011, there was no updated iPhone, but an updated version of Mac OS X Lion and iOS5 would make Apple software and hardware cloud proof! So with this Steve Jobs launched Apple’s iCloud online storage and syncing service for music, photos, files, and software.
The expected 5th generation iPhone wasn’t launched on October 4th, but an updated version iPhone 4S fills the gap between the forthcoming generation of iPhone 5. Again crushing all sales records during the opening weekend…
October 5th Apple announced the death of Steve Jobs.
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc.#1976.E2.80.931980:_The_early_years
Apple History – http://www.apple-history.com/