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The Apple Company (officially Apple Inc.) is one of the most famous companies in the world, the producer of iPods, Mac computers and the iPhone. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple designs, develops and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. Founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has risen to become one of the largest companies in the world.
The Founders of Apple
Jobs, Wozniak, and Wayne founded Apple in order to sell the computer they had developed, the Apple I, designed by Wozniak. The Apple II, also designed by Wozniak, appeared in 1977, and soon included a floppy-disk drive, as opposed to the cassette-tape drive still used by competitors.
In 1984, the Apple Company introduced the Macintosh, the first personal computer in which the user did not need a programming language. The introduction of the first Mac was through a famous Super Bowl ad, modeled after Orwell's 1984. Macintosh sales were slow until the introduction of laser printers and PageMaker software.
Apple's popularity declined in the late '80s and early '90s because of the rise of cheaper PC machines. However, Apple bounced back with the return of Steve Jobs in 1997 and the introduction of the first iMac. Real breakthrough came with the invention of the iPod, and then the iPhone. Known for its streamlined products, the Apple Company has devoted fans.
Apple Founded the PC
Following a stellar launch in the 1970's, Apple Computer has led a very unstable existence. At its founding, Apple Computer single-handedly created the personal computer industry with its highly popular Apple II computer. However, Apple lost its market dominance in the early 1980's following the entrance of corporate giant IBM to the market, and the company's losses were compounded by a number of strategic errors, including pricing computers far above what the mass market could tolerate and refusing to allow clones of their computers, limiting the incentive to software companies to create the same volume of software for Apple computers that they were creating for IBM computers.
Apple's troubles continued throughout the 1980's and 1990's, with continuously decreasing market share and three CEO firings between 1993 and 1997. With the return of founder Steve Jobs to the company's helm in 1997, Apple's fortunes began to change. Upon assuming his new position, Jobs eliminated unprofitable or unpromising products, such as the Newton PDA. He decided to refocus the company on a number of core products, and to launch products, such as the iMac, that would gain wide popularity in the mass market, reaching beyond Apple's traditional core publishing and educational clients. The iMac proved wildly successful, turning around Apple's fortunes, at least temporarily.
Despite Jobs's early successes, industry analysts at the turn of the 21st century remained unconvinced of the company's future success over the long term. Analysts had two basic fears about Apple.
- First, they fear that Apple now has a split focus between the mass market and its well-defined niche.
- Second, they fear that Apple may attempt to put too much effort into its mass-market effort, failing to reconcile "its megalomania with a practical reasoning of its own position."
Success has proven the critics wrong, as Apple rules the computer industry.