Apple 1976–۱۹۸۴: Founding and incorporation

Apple 1976–۱۹۸۴: Founding and incorporation

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apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. It is considered one of the Big Five companies in the U.S. information technology industry, along with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.[۸][۹][۱۰] It is one of the most popular smartphone and tablet companies in the world.

Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in April 1976 to develop and sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer, though Wayne sold his share back to Jobs and Wozniak within 12 days. It was incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc., in January 1977, and sales of its computers, including the Apple II, grew quickly.

Jobs and Wozniak hired a staff of computer designers and had a production line starting in Jobs’ garage. Apple went public in 1980 to instant financial success. Over the next few years, Apple shipped new computers featuring innovative graphical user interfaces, such as the original Macintosh in 1984, and Apple’s marketing advertisements for its products received widespread critical acclaim. However, the high price of its products and limited application library caused problems, as did power struggles between executives. In 1985, Wozniak departed Apple amicably and remained an honorary employee,[۱۱] while Jobs resigned to found NeXT, taking some Apple co-workers with him.[۱۲]

As the market for personal computers expanded and evolved through the 1990s, Apple lost considerable market share to the lower-priced duopoly of Microsoft Windows on Intel PC clones. The board recruited CEO Gil Amelio to what would be a 500-day attempt to rehabilitate the financially troubled company—reshaping it with layoffs, executive restructuring, and product focus. He led Apple to buy NeXT in 1997, solving a failed operating system strategy and bringing Jobs back.

Jobs regained leadership status, becoming CEO in September 1997. Apple swiftly returned to profitability under the revitalizing “Think different” campaign, rebuilding Apple’s status by launching the iMac and iPod, opening a retail chain of Apple Stores in 2001, and acquiring numerous companies to broaden the software portfolio. The company was renamed to Apple Inc. in 2007, reflecting a focus toward consumer electronics, and launched the iPhone to critical acclaim and financial success. In August 2011, Jobs resigned as CEO due to health complications, and Tim Cook became the new CEO. Two months later, Jobs died, marking the end of an era for the company. In June 2019, Jony Ive, Apple’s CDO, left the company to start his own firm but stated he would work with Apple as its primary client.

Apple’s worldwide annual revenue totaled $274.5 billion for the 2020 fiscal year. Apple is the world’s largest technology company by revenue and since January 2021, the world’s most valuable company. Apple is the world’s 4th-largest PC vendor by unit sales as of January 2021.[۱۳] It is also the world’s fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer.[۱۴][۱۵] In August 2018, Apple became the first publicly traded U.S. company to be valued at over $1 trillion[۱۶][۱۷] and just two years later, in August 2020 became the first $2 trillion U.S. company.[۱۸][۱۹] Apple employs 147,000 full-time employees[۴] and maintains 511 retail stores in 25 countries as of 2021.[۲۰] It operates the iTunes Store, which is the world’s largest music retailer. As of January ۲۰۲۱, more than 1.65 billion Apple products are actively in use worldwide.[۲۱] It has a high level of brand loyalty and is ranked as the world’s most valuable brand. Apple receives significant criticism regarding the labor practices of its contractors, its environmental practices, and business ethics, including anti-competitive behavior, and materials sourcing.

۱۹۷۶–۱۹۸۴: Founding and incorporation

Apple Computer Company was founded on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne as a business partnership.[۲۲][۲۵] The company’s first product is the Apple I, a computer designed and hand-built entirely by Wozniak.[۲۶][۲۷] To finance its creation, Jobs sold his only motorized means of transportation, a VW Microbus, for a few hundred dollars, and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for US$500 (equivalent to $2,274 in 2020).[۲۸] Wozniak debuted the first prototype at the Homebrew Computer Club in July 1976.[۲۹][۳۰] The Apple I was sold as a motherboard with CPU, RAM, and basic textual-video chips—a base kit concept which would not yet be marketed as a complete personal computer.[۳۱] It went on sale soon after debut for US$666.66 (equivalent to $3,032 in 2020).[۳۲][۳۳][۳۴][۳۵][۳۶]:۱۸۰ Wozniak later said he was unaware of the coincidental mark of the beast in the number 666, and that he came up with the price because he liked “repeating digits”.[۳۷]

Apple Computer, Inc. was incorporated on January 3, 1977,[۳۸][۳۹] without Wayne, who had left and sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800 only twelve days after having co-founded Apple.[۴۰][۴۱] Multimillionaire Mike Markkula provided essential business expertise and funding of US$250,000 (equivalent to $1,067,683 in 2020) to Jobs and Wozniak during the incorporation of Apple.[۴۲][۴۳] During the first five years of operations, revenues grew exponentially, doubling about every four months. Between September 1977 and September 1980, yearly sales grew from $775,000 to $118 million, an average annual growth rate of 533%.[۴۴][۴۵]

The Apple II, also invented by Wozniak, was introduced on April 16, 1977, at the first West Coast Computer Faire.[۴۶] It differs from its major rivals, the TRS-80 and Commodore PET, because of its character cell-based color graphics and open architecture. While early Apple II models use ordinary cassette tapes as storage devices, they were superseded by the introduction of a ۵+۱۴-inch floppy disk drive and interface called the Disk II in 1978.[۴۷][۴۸] The Apple II was chosen to be the desktop platform for the first “killer application” of the business world: VisiCalc, a spreadsheet program released in 1979.[۴۷] 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.[۴۷] Before VisiCalc, Apple had been a distant third place competitor to Commodore and Tandy.[۴۹][۵۰]

By the end of the 1970s, Apple had a staff of computer designers and a production line. The company introduced the Apple III in May 1980 in an attempt to compete with IBM in the business and corporate computing market.[۵۱] Jobs and several Apple employees, including human–computer interface expert Jef Raskin, visited Xerox PARC in December 1979 to see a demonstration of the Xerox Alto. Xerox granted Apple engineers three days of access to the PARC facilities in return for the option to buy 100,000[۵۲] shares (5.6 million split-adjusted shares as of March ۳۰, ۲۰۱۹)[۳۹] of Apple at the pre-IPO price of $10 a share.[۵۳]

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.[۵۴][۵۵] In 1982, however, he was pushed from the Lisa team due to infighting. Jobs then took over Wozniak’s and Raskin’s low-cost-computer project, the Macintosh, and redefined it as a graphical system cheaper and faster than Lisa.[۵۶] In 1983, Lisa became the first personal computer sold to the public with a GUI, but was a commercial failure due to its high price and limited software titles, so in 1985 it would be repurposed as the high end Macintosh and discontinued in its second year.[۵۷]

On December 12, 1980, Apple (ticker symbol “AAPL”) went public selling 4.6 million shares at $22 per share ($.39 per share when adjusting for stock splits as of March ۳۰, ۲۰۱۹),[۳۹] generating over $100 million, which was more capital than any IPO since Ford Motor Company in 1956.[۵۸] By the end of the day, 300 millionaires were created, from a stock price of $29 per share[۵۹] and a market cap of $1.778 billion.

۱۹۸۴–۱۹۹۱: Success with Macintosh

In 1984, Apple launched the Macintosh, the first personal computer to be sold without a programming language.[۶۰] Its debut was signified by “۱۹۸۴”, a $1.5 million television advertisement directed by Ridley Scott that aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984.[۶۱] This is now hailed as a watershed event for Apple’s success[۶۲] and was called a “masterpiece” by CNN[۶۳] and one of the greatest TV advertisements of all time by TV Guide.[۶۴][۶۵]

Macintosh sales were initially good, but began to taper off dramatically after the first three months due to its high price, slow speed, and limited range of available software.[۶۶][۶۷][۶۸][۶۹]:۱۹۵ In early 1985, this sales slump triggered a power struggle between Steve Jobs and CEO John Sculley, who had been hired two years earlier by Jobs[۷۰][۷۱] using the famous line, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?”[۷۲] Sculley decided to remove Jobs as the general manager of the Macintosh division, and gained unanimous support from the Apple board of directors.[۷۳][۷۰]

The board of directors instructed Sculley to contain Jobs and his ability to launch expensive forays into untested products. Rather than submit to Sculley’s direction, Jobs attempted to oust him from his leadership role at Apple.[۷۴] Informed by Jean-Louis Gassée, Sculley found out that Jobs had been attempting to organize a coup and called an emergency executive meeting at which Apple’s executive staff sided with Sculley and stripped Jobs of all operational duties.[۷۴] Jobs resigned from Apple in September 1985 and took a number of Apple employees with him to found NeXT Inc.[۷۵] Wozniak had also quit his active employment at Apple earlier in 1985 to pursue other ventures, expressing his frustration with Apple’s treatment of the Apple II division and stating that the company had “been going in the wrong direction for the last five years”.[۱۲][۱۱][۷۶] Despite Wozniak’s grievances, he left the company amicably and both Jobs and Wozniak remained Apple shareholders.[۷۷] Wozniak continues to represent the company at events or in interviews,[۱۱] receiving a stipend estimated to be $120,000 per year for this role.[۳۶]

The outlook on Macintosh improved with the introduction of the LaserWriter, the first reasonably priced PostScript laser printer, and PageMaker, an early desktop publishing application released in July 1985.[۷۸] It has been suggested that the combination of Macintosh, LaserWriter, and PageMaker was responsible for the creation of the desktop publishing market.[۷۹]

After the departures of Jobs and Wozniak, the Macintosh product line underwent a steady change of focus to higher price points, the so-called “high-right policy” named for the position on a chart of price vs. profits. Jobs had argued the company should produce products aimed at the consumer market and aimed for a $1,000 price for the Macintosh, which they were unable to meet. Newer models selling at higher price points offered higher profit margin, and appeared to have no effect on total sales as power users snapped up every increase in power. Although some worried about pricing themselves out of the market, the high-right policy was in full force by the mid-1980s, notably due to Jean-Louis Gassée’s mantra of “fifty-five or die”, referring to the 55% profit margins of the Macintosh II.[۸۰]:۷۹–۸۰ Selling Macintosh at such high profit margins was only possible because of its dominant position in the desktop publishing market.[۸۱]

This policy began to backfire in the last years of the decade as new desktop publishing programs appeared on PC clones that offered some or much of the same functionality of the Macintosh but at far lower price points. The company lost its monopoly in this market and had already estranged many of its original consumer customer base who could no longer afford their high-priced products. The Christmas season of 1989 is the first in the company’s history to have declining sales, which led to a 20% drop in Apple’s stock price.[۸۰]:۱۱۷–۱۲۹ During this period, the relationship between Sculley and Gassée deteriorated, leading Sculley to effectively demote Gassée in January 1990 by appointing Michael Spindler as the chief operating officer.[۸۲] Gassée left the company later that year.[۸۳] In October 1990, Apple introduced three lower-cost models, the Macintosh Classic, Macintosh LC, and Macintosh IIsi,[۸۴] all of which saw significant sales due to pent-up demand.

In 1991, Apple introduced the PowerBook, replacing the “luggable” Macintosh Portable with a design that set the current shape for almost all modern laptops. The same year, Apple introduced System 7, a major upgrade to the operating system which added color to the interface and introduced new networking capabilities. It remained the architectural basis for the Classic Mac OS. The success of the PowerBook and other products brought increasing revenue.[۸۵] For some time, Apple was doing incredibly well, introducing fresh new products and generating increasing profits in the process. The magazine MacAddict named the period between 1989 and 1991 as the “first golden age” of the Macintosh.[۸۶]

Apple believed the Apple II series was too expensive to produce and took away sales from the low-end Macintosh.[۸۷] In October 1990, Apple released the Macintosh LC, and began efforts to promote that computer by advising developer technical support staff to recommend developing applications for Macintosh rather than Apple II, and authorizing salespersons to direct consumers towards Macintosh and away from Apple II.[۸۸] The Apple IIe was discontinued in 1993.

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