Apple Computer, Inc. was founded on April 1, 1976, by college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who brought to the new company a vision of changing the way people viewed computers. Jobs and Wozniak wanted to make computers small enough for people to have them in their homes or offices. Simply put, they wanted a computer that was user-friendly.1
Jobs and Wozniak started out building the Apple I in Jobs' garage and sold them without a monitor, keyboard, or casing (which they decided to add on in 1977). The Apple II revolutionized the computer industry with the introduction of the first-ever color graphics. Sales jumped from $7.8 million in 1978 to $117 million in 1980, the year Apple went public.2
Wozniak left Apple in 1983 due to a diminishing interest in the day-to-day running of Apple Computer. Jobs then hired PepsiCo's John Sculley to be president. However, this move backfired and after much controversy with Sculley, Jobs left in 1985 and went on to new and bigger things. He founded his own company NeXT Software and he also bought Pixar from George Lucas, which would later become a huge success in computer animation of such movies as Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo.3
Through the rest of the 1980s, Apple was still doing well and in 1990 it posted its highest profits yet. This was, however, mostly due to the plans that Jobs had already set in motion before he left, most notably his deal with a tiny company by the name of Adobe, creator of the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Together the two companies created the phenomenon known as desktop publishing.4
Back in 1985 Sculley turned down an appeal from Microsoft founder Bill Gates to license its software. This decision would later come back to haunt him because Microsoft, whose Windows operating system (OS) featured a graphical interface similar to Apple's, became their toughest competition in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s.
Over the course of a few years, Apple's market share suffered slowly after its peak in 1990 and by 1996, experts believed the company to be doomed. It was not until 1997, when Apple was desperately in need of an operating system, that it bought out NeXT Software (Jobs' company) and the board of directors decided to ask for some help from an old friend: Steve Jobs. Jobs became an interim CEO, or iCEO as he called himself (Jobs was not officially the CEO until 2000). Jobs decided to make some changes around Apple. He forged an alliance with Microsoft to create a Mac version of its popular office software. Not long after this decision was the turning point for the company. Jobs revamped the computers and introduced the iBook (a personal laptop) followed by iPod, an mp3 player, which became market leader.
The iPhone, a touch screen cellular phone, introduced in 2007 was one of the world' most successful products and the company has released several new versions since. Not long after the announcement of iPhone and Apple TV, the company dropped "Computer" from its name to become "Apple Inc.," indicating that it is about more than just computers. Other popular products include iPad tablet and Apple Watch. Most recently Apple has expanded its services segments with its credit card (Apple Card), Apple News for news, Apple Arcade for games and the Apple TV+ for streaming original content produced by Apple.5 Steve Jobs died October 5, 2011, but Apple continues on with his legacy with Tim Cook at the helm as the CEO. The popularity of iPhones made Apple the first company valued at one trillion dollars in 2018 and two years later it doubled that figure.6
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