Apple Inc. is an American mutinational company that designs and manufactures consumer electronics and software products. Established in Cupertino, California 1n 1976,it employs 35,000 people worlwide,had sales of $32.5bn in the year ending September 2008 and in the 2008 Fortune magazine was voted the most admired company in the United States.
The company was founded by Steve Jobs,Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. The initial computers, “The Apple1” were handmade by Wozniak and were sold in 1976 for $666.66.
Wayne sold his share of the business back to his two co-founders in 1977 for $800. The “Apple1” was followed by the “Apple11” and the “Apple 111” as Apple competed with IBM and microsoft in the business computing market. In 1984 Apple launched the Macintosh .Sales were moderate and in September 1984 it had its initial public offering (I.P.O.). Jobs left Apple following a power struggle and set up neXT inc.
Microsoft continued to gain market share with Windows,focusing on delivering software with cheap commodity PC’s while Apple was delivering a richly engineered but expensive product. Apple sued Microsoft for using a graphical user interface similar to Apples,the case ran for years and was eventually thrown out by the courts. Apple introduced many new products to the market which flopped. It was struggling to survive.
Attempting to improve its operating system it decided to buy out neXT and its system, and re-instated Steve Jobs who became CEO in 1997. Apples fortunes started to change. In 1997 Microsoft invested $150m in non votin Apple stock and later that year it introduced the Apple store,building custom built machines for the consumer..
In 1998 Apple introduced the all-in one computer called the Imac. It sold 800,000 in 5 months and returned Apple to profitability, after 5 years of being in the doldrums. Other innovative software soon followed-Imovie,Garage Band,I photo,Final Cut all relevant to the photo/music industries.
Apples reputaion for innovation and creativity has been enhanced in recent years. In 2001 the i pod was introduced,selling 250million units by January. In 2003,Apples I tunes was launched,offering online music downloads for $0.99 a song and integration with the ipod.The service became the market leader in online music services, with over 5 billion downloads by June 2008.
In 2006 Apple switched to Intel chips in its entire product line. The Power Mac, i Book, and Power Book brands were retired and replaced by the Mac Pro,MacBook,and MacBook Pro.
The iphone launched in 2007 in the US has had estimated sales of 13m units thus far. While Jobs is at present taking rest from the day to day business activities there is no doubting the massive influence he and his company have had on the lives of people. The company has a total market capitalisation in excess of $80bn.
In January 2010 Apple launched the IPad,an e-reader,where the consumer can purchase and download books.