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Apple Stock History

Apple computer's history is a classic American success story. The company  designed and built what would become the personal computer, and was instrumental  in the birth of this important global industry.

In early 1970's two young teenagers, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak crossed  paths and began a friendship and collaboration that eventually led to the  founding of Apple Computer Co. in April of 1976. In basic terms Steve Wozniak  was the engineer and Jobs the entrepreneur.

The first machine designed and built by Wozniak was shown to folks at  Hewlett-Packard and other companies who passed on purchasing or investing so  Jobs and "Woz" decided to take it to the world themselves.

At the time personal computing was limited to build-it-yourself kits sold  through hobby stores and catalogs. The Apple team met with a retail outlet in CA  called The Byte Shop, and agreed to build 500 machines on consignment to be sold  on spec. They took the risk, and to skip ahead, it worked out very well.

Apple quickly moved from an extra bedroom, to the garage of Jobs' home, and  soon into a leased commercial space. In 1977 the company was incorporated and  released its new Apple II computer. This important design had a board with 8  expansion slots to be more flexible and powerful. I came in a case with a  keyboard and output to a color display.

At this time Apple was competing with the TRS-80 from Tandy (Radio Shack) and  the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor). The big event that changed  thing was the introduction of the World's first "killer app" called VisiCalc for  Apple. This spreadsheet application was most responsible for the rapid growth in  sales for Apple's machines.

In 1979 Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC (Palo Alta Research Center) and was  introduced to their GUI, graphical user interface, running on Xerox computer  called Alto. He was convinced that the GUI would be the way of the world. Apple  to begin development of a graphical user interface for the next big product, the  Apple "Lisa", in 1978. The project took until 1983 to be released to the market.  Sales of Lisa would prove to be less than stellar.

On December 12, 1980 Apple share went public, creating more millionaires in  one day (over 300) than any company ever. The stock began trading at $2.75 per  share.

During the same time frame another team at Apple was diligently working on a  more affordable product called "Macintosh". Released in 1984 the Macintosh was  less expensive than the Lisa, and offered more software titles. The simple  machine was the first to come with a mouse and user-friendly GUI. The market  bought it and the cult was born.

The GUI based operating system Apple developed for the Macintosh was the  beginning of what would become Mac OS, but at the time is was simply called  System software. In 1984 this Apple OS was System version 1.0 This early package  simplified the operation of a computer by hiding the complex instructions behind  simple icons. Brilliant.

Earlier computers had be run by Mac DOS or early firmware embedded in the  on-board chips. The development of the System software was a big step in Apple's  computers.

The Mac, as it would become known, was successful at arranging the display on  the screen to match the output sent to the printer. In 1985 Apple introduced the  LaserWriter printer to work with PageMaker software. This was a huge advantage  and led to the development and explosion in desktop publishing.

Apples' System 1.0 was followed by 2.0 in 1985 adding networking by AppleTalk  and LaserWriter print support.

Microsoft based systems would soon be capable of desktop publishing as well,  but the industry would continue its preference and fondness for the Apple  products. This could be a deciding factor in Apple survival during the explosion  of Microsoft's Windows growth throughout the personal and business markets.

In 1981 IBM entered the personal computer market in a big way. The market  klout and resources of IBM led them to quickly achieve success in the business  market. These systems were powered by Intel processors and Microsoft's MS DOS.  Others soon reverse-engineered these system and began making "IBM-compatibles"  or "clones" of the popular machines.

Apple was very concerned about the quality and control of their systems and  made the process quite difficult for any company that wanted to duplicate their  systems. They proved to have a valid point as IBM quickly lost their market  share to the cloners and finely left the PC hardware business entirely.

The market for big business was taking its toll at Apple. In 1983 John  Sculley was named CEO at Apple. Steve Jobs had lost some of his power and  control as the public shareholders now were a factor. His plans and struggles  became at odds with the new board and his power was stripped from the company he  began.

In 1985 sales of the Macintosh were slow and not growing fast enough to meet  Wall Street's expectations. Steve Jobs, who was then running the Macintosh  division, and CEO John Sculley had a big disagreement on the strategy to grow  the business. After some brief research by the board of directors they decided  to back Sculley's plan and to asked Jobs to step down from his leadership  position.

Steve Jobs left Apple and during this time he created a new computer system  called NeXT, and purchased a little animation company Pixar. One loser and one  winner. Pixar's success would dwarf the NeXT failure.

The Apple System Software would be upgraded to versions 3.0 through 5.1 over  the next few years adding features and changing the file structure to hierarchal  system, a fast SCSI interface, expansion card support, and larger displays.

The introduction of System 6.0 was a big step, and was the first complete  system. It would prove to be stable and long-lasting. The version went through 8  minor upgrades over the next 3 years.

In 1987 Apple began developing the Newton, and Sculley is sometimes credited  with coining the term PDA, Personal Digital Assistant. The Newton was never  really able to find a market and remained a minor component of the Apple  business for about 10 years. Many believe that the product was what led to the  iPod, a product that hit a market that was finally ready and eager for it!

In 1988 American business was in turmoil and the business at Apple was  struggling to make any progress. The computer being built by Next, Steve Jobs  new company was introduced and Apple began a long period of legal suits against  Microsoft claiming that the Graphical User Interface in Windows infringed on  Apple. The suits finally were found baseless and no award to Apple.

In 1991 the next major upgrade System 7 was released and was the beginning of  a long run in this Apple operating system generation. System 7 would have a life  of 6 yeas being upgraded many times. The version 7.5.1 was the first to actually  be called "Mac OS"

System 7 also introduced TrueType fonts, which are still in use by Apple as  well as all Microsoft's Windows products.

During this period the Apple system was ported for the new PowerPC processor  as the company switched to this hardware. John Sculley would later say that this  was his biggest mistake as it would have been a better idea to move into the  more popular Intel architecture.

By 1994 the Apple was struggling and John Sculley was sent packing. NeXT  computer had developed an excellent operating system called NeXTstep, but had  stopped building the expensive hardware to run it.

In 1995 Apple began a program to license it's ROM and System to produces of  Apple clones. The company needed the revenue and with the clones was able to  capture an estimated 10% market share in desktop computers.

NeXT computer would be purchased by Apple in 1996 and bring Jobs back into  the company he began. The NeXTstep system would become the basis for the Mac OS  X. Apple was beginning to make better moves than it could have imagined.

Jobs found some loopholes in the legal terms of licensing for the clones and  with the release of Mac OS 8 all the clone business was over. The market share  for Macs fell to about 3% but that would not last long. Jobs would become the  CEO in 1998 and begin a series of product development that started with the  iMac.

The iMac was an integrated display and processor unit incased in colorful  clear and translucent plastic. The aesthetics and design would show dramatic  style and change the market forever. iMac with its modern look would sell a  million units a year, doubling their market share to 10% in only 6 months.

The new product releases would continue with the Power Mac G4, the iBook  consumer laptop and the rise and implementation of AirPort and the Mac OS 9  wireless capabilities and transitional features.

By 2001 the next big thing was ready and Apple released OS X, based on the  NeXTstep and parts of the FreeBSD kernel. This OS was new from the ground up and  completely incompatible with the older Mac OS. As a transitional move the system  included a bit of magic to run in classic mode with Mac OS 9. Many long-time  users were unhappy with the dramatic change but many new users came to Apple for  the stability and simplicity offered with the edgy new style that would  completely change the computer market forever.

The OS X operating system was released in beta in 2000. The first official  version OS x 10.0 was released March 2001, and has since been through 8  upgrades, each named after large cats. The current version 10.8 is called  Mountain Lion.

One of the most notable OS X upgrades is version 10.6 Snow Leopard which was  the first Intel only version ending Apple's long run with the PowerPC  processors.

As OS X was being released the company boldly came to the market with an  expensive and unique small music device called iPod. Jobs and Apple were betting  on the shift of entertainment from traditional channels to new devices. The iPod  was soon followed by the launch of the iTunes store and against many  expectations this segment was wildly successful. Features and components of the  computer operating system were being built more to work together and Mac OS  upgrades began coming at a rapid and consistent rate.

In 2007 the iPhone launched, and in 2010 the iPad. 2007 also saw the company  change their name from Apple Computer to Apple, Inc. The computer no longer is  the business but simply a division of the world's most valuable company.

Apple now is estimated to have grown to a 12% share of the computer market.  It continues to grow even though the overall market is flat. The computer market  is going through dramatic shifts as many business functions move to tablets and  other devices. Androids numerous iterations, Microsoft and Apple have new  competitors and rapidly changing technology. For the foreseeable future Apple  has built itself some breathing room.

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Comment by Stephen Pettiway on June 2, 2014 at 8:03pm

The real message here to me is the journey of its founder Steve Jobs , I was taken back by what he experience in his travel from a Garage salesmen to one of the richest man in the U.S. Unfortunately his riches could not stop that Old Man DEATH, I love the speech he gave at one of the Universities about not allowing another to steal your Dreams. Good Video.

Comment by Anthony Evans on May 15, 2013 at 11:01pm

A lot of the mutual funds that hit the bottom of the ranks had Apple Computer as a top holding. It is just like the blind trying to lead the blind. Any one with 1/2 a brain would know the Apple run could not last forever.  The developer is right. These guys are a big joke. They really need some help.  

Comment by Diamond hemingway on May 9, 2013 at 11:43pm

If you bought Apple when the whole world was piling in around $600 an up, you now feel like road kill. Don't you guys follow the Supra Vantage alerts. I hear they are the fastest guns on the block. I do not hear them crying about Apple or anything else now that I think of it.

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