The Story Of Apple: From A Small Garage, To The Top Of The World
The birth and death of civilizations is a thing of the past, but now we witness the rise and fall of corporations, with some becoming more powerful than whole countries!
The largest and most iconic of them all is Apple - a company whose story made its way into the history books.
Founded in a garage by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, in 40 years the company has become so successful that at one point it has twice the amount of money of the US Treasury!
Once at the brink of extinction, Apple managed to pull through thanks to cutting edge innovation. Today it's worth almost $2 trillion, with its annual revenue being larger than the GDP of most countries on Earth. This is their story.
The Story of Steve Jobs, and How His Ingenuity Created a Brand That Conquered the World Steve Jobs, one of the greatest minds in recent history was born in 1955 in San Francisco. His talent, ability, and intelligence was not a secret even at a young age. Being smarter than everyone got him bullied so much that he spent most of his free time in his neighbors' garage playing with electronics and gadgets. Fed up with the constant bullying, young Steve told his adoptive parents that if they don't move, he will stop going to school.
His parents understood his struggles so they packed up and moved from their Mountain View home to Los Altos. There, 12-year old Steve joined the Hewlett-Packard Explorer Club, a place where he saw a computer for the first time. Steve learned to work the computer fast and managed to get his first job at HP headquarters in Palo Alto, California - at just thirteen! It was the same place where after school he went and listened to lectures on computers.
The College Dropout
Steve tried college later in life but dropped out because it didn't suit him, nor did it satisfy his broad curiosity. But, for Steve dropping out didn't mean stop studying - he was still visiting several classes (like calligraphy) that were sparking his interest.
However, with no money, he had a tough time staying on campus. He had to sleep in his friends' rooms while recycling plastic bottles for 5 cents a piece in order to buy little food to survive. During this period, Jobs joined the Homebrew Computer Club where he met Steve Wozniak. Impressed by Wozniak's idea on how to build a personal computer, both Steves soon joined forces in developing affordable computers for everyone.
During the following years, Jobs and Wozniak stayed productive and gained a lot of experience, sharpening their tech skills that allowed them to get jobs in the industry.
Jobs started to work in Atari and Wozniak at HP. Wozniak's ability to bring ideas to reality with little resources helped Steve improve Atari's arcade game Breakout. He reduced the number of logic chips used and for that, Jobs received a large bonus which he shared with his friend.
Steve's ability to see into the future allowed him to recognize Wozniak's extraordinary potential. He felt ready to take the next step, so he sold his minivan, and put that money into starting Apple Computers on April 1, 1976.
The Struggle of Selling an Idea Light Years Ahead
The start of Apple Computers was a rough one, but Jobs and Wozniak were persistent in the idea of making the company a success.
Jobs needed parts to make computers, so he first went to a local computer store to get the parts, and made a deal to sell them 50 computers at a discount in exchange for getting the parts needed upfront and paying later. Later he used the same order to get the needed parts within a 30 days period to pay for them.
They delivered the order, paid back the money in the agreed timeline, and Apple made its first profit.
This motivated Jobs to scale production, but he faced a hard time finding investors, as the idea of a personal computer didn't seem realistic nor attractive at the time.
Steve contacted his old boss at Atari asking him to invest or help him find a millionaire willing to invest in Apple Computers. That way they found their first partner in 1977, Mike Markkula.
That year Mike invested around $92,000 of his own money and secured a $250,000 loan from Bank of America. In return, Mike received one-third of Apple Computers.
Pushing the Boundaries and Reshaping the Idea of What Computers Are
Both Jobs and Wozniak were professionals in their own area. Jobs had the ability to visualize the future, and Wozniak was a genius engineer.
In 1977 they created Apple 2, the first computer with color graphics, revolutionizing the computer industry. Apple 2 was a huge success as it raised sales from $7.8 million to $117 million in just two years. By the time the 80s arrived, Apple was a fascinating phenomenon to the public - a pureblood tech start-up that worked!
Sales were stable over the next few years, but the next edition that came out in 1980, Apple 3, failed to perform like its predecessor due to overheating problems. This threw a shade over Apple's image as a reliable computer manufacturer and the company lost the faith of its customers.
In the five years that followed, Apple struggled to compete with rivals like IBM as they were unable to match their performance. Jobs was in a tight spot and he hired John Sculley, the CEO of PepsiCo to be the new president of the company. This turned out to be a bad move on Steve's behalf, as controversies around Scully's previous dealings led to shareholders losing their trust even more.
In 1985, Steve left the company to create and open a new one, NeXT-software.
Steve's weapon for fighting IBM was developing Macintosh, a family of personal computers designed by Apple. Steve was overly enthusiastic about the product and for the next few months, he focused entirely on improving the product. However, John had a different vision for the company. He wanted Apple to rise, as he was a bit sceptical about Macintosh success.
He turned out to be right. At the beginning of 1985, it was obvious that IBM would rule the PC market, a fact that gave John additional power in the company. By trying to avoid another crisis, John proposed for Steve to be removed from the Macintosh Group and put in charge of the new 'Product Development' department.
Of course, Steve didn't like this idea one bit and he developed a plan to get rid of John. However, someone ratted him out and the entire company discovered Steve's true intentions. The scandal ended with Steve submitting a letter of resignation to the Apple Board on September 17, 1985.
But Apple's biggest revolution was on June 29, 2007, the day the iPhone was launched. The iPhone changed the way people use smartphones forever, containing features of the iPod, the personal assistant Siri introduced in 2011, and its own mobile browser - features that greatly simplified the everyday life of the average mobile user.
The Return of the Mastermind
Although IBM's product performed much better than Apple's, the company still had an advantage with Jobs' graphic user interface, which won over some users.
But then, in 1990, Microsoft introduced its new graphic operating system named Windows 3.0, leading experts to believe it would bring the end of Apple. At this time, Apple's board was desperately pursuing new ideas and products to help them stay competitive. This resulted in them buying Steve's new company in 1996, due to its progress in databases, servers, and GUI systems.
The board appointed Steve as the interim CEO, realizing that his ideas were still a step ahead of everyone else. Steve got Apple Computers out of the gutter once again, introducing the Apple Store using the servers made by his old company, NeXT.
To increase Apple's market share, he made a deal with Microsoft, allowing his direct competitor to make his software compatible with Apple 3. This turned out to be a genius move as it provided Apple a stable stream of income, allowing Steve space and time to focus on future inventions. Jobs had a sense of what people needed and knew how to give them what they wanted through his inventions. He implemented this characteristic of his persona into the way Apple operated, keeping the designs and the functions as simple as possible while focusing on performance.
With Steve's renewed vigor for leadership, the company released the iMac and iBook transforming the mobile electronics market. The reliability and smooth navigation of the new operating system Mac OS X made it the number-one choice for professionals, and soon, Apple's global success made companies in the field rethink their strategies and values.
The Loss of a Legend, and the Creation of a New One
On October 5, 2011, the world stood still when news broke that Steve Jobs' had passed due to pancreatic cancer. As loyal fans of his creations mourned, experts predicted that Apple wouldn't be able to keep the same pace in innovation and expansion, and would eventually fall behind to its competitors.
But the company didn't just have one brilliant mind: Tim Cook, the man who took over as CEO shortly before Steve's death, was still in the game. Woven in the same genius fabric as his old pal Steve, Tim continued to supply the world with groundbreaking technology and services, delivering their new operating system iOS 7 and the iPhone 5 within his first year.
His business and innovation sense, together with his exceptional leading abilities and entrepreneurial mindset, made Apple the wealthiest private entity in the world in less than 9 years.
Today, in the halls of Apple's headquarters, Steve's spirit and drive for innovation remains, inspiring the 137,000-strong army of employees to push the boundaries of technology and lead us into an unknown, but definitely exciting future!