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Apple Computer

Essay by   •  November 21, 2010  •  Case Study  •  1,089 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,120 Views

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Apple Computer, Inc.

1. Introduction

Apple Computer, Inc., major manufacturer of personal computers with headquarters in Cupertino, California. Apple designs, produces, and sells personal computer systems for use in business, education, government, and the home. Its products are sold in more than 120 countries and include personal computers, printers, monitors, scanners, software, and networking products.

2. Founding

Apple was formed by Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak in 1976 to market the Apple I, a computer circuit board that they had designed and built in Jobs's garage in Los Altos, California. They scrapped their plan to sell the board alone when Jobs's first sales call yielded an order for 50 units. They were, however, sold without monitor, keyboard, or casing. The company was incorporated in January 1977 by the charismatic Jobs, the meditative inventor Wozniak, and their new partner and chairman, Mike Markkula. Markkula brought credibility, maturity, engineering and product management experience, and an extremely broad-based knowledge of the business world, as well as investment cash of his own and contacts among Silicon Valley's venture capitalists. Markkula also recruited all of Apple's outside board members and lured away managers from other major high-technology firms, including Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and National Semiconductor.

3. Apple II and the Macintosh

In 1977 Apple introduced the Apple II, a personal computer able to generate color graphics, with its own keyboard, power supply, and eight slots for peripheral devices, which gave users wide possibilities for add-on devices and software programs. Apple established its corporate headquarters in Cupertino in 1978. The Apple III computer, introduced in 1980, sold poorly because of hardware problems and a high price.

With Apple II sales soaring, in 1982 Apple became the first personal-computer company to record annual sales of $1 billion. In 1983 Apple introduced the Lisa, a personal computer designed for business use that incorporated a handheld mouse to select commands and control an on-screen cursor. The Lisa was followed in 1984 by the Macintosh personal computer, based on the 68000 microprocessor manufactured by Motorola. Like the Lisa, the Macintosh incorporated a graphical user interface, which made the computer easy to operate for the novice user. Apple entered the office market with the introduction of its LaserWriter printer in 1985 and Macintosh Plus computer in 1986, a combination that launched the desktop publishing revolution. Although the company prospered in the early 1980s, Wozniak left Apple in 1985 to start a company of his own. That same year disappointing sales and internal wrangling led to restructuring, the company's first layoffs, and Jobs's departure from the company. John Sculley, whom Jobs had hired in 1983 as Apple's president and chief executive officer, replaced Jobs as chairman of the company's board of directors.

4. Expansion and Change

The late 1980s and early 1990s were times of growth and change at Apple. In the late 1980s Apple's net income increased substantially, and in 1990 Apple introduced a new line of Macintosh computers, priced at 50 percent less than previous models to attract new customers to the Macintosh. In addition expanding the Macintosh line, Apple extended its system software, the modular System 7. In 1991 Apple formed an alliance with International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and Motorola to develop the PowerPC family of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) microprocessors. In 1992 Apple introduced the family of Macintosh PowerBook laptop computers, which offered built-in networking capabilities. That same year the company introduced its QuickTime software, which allowed computers to play video clips in multimedia applications.

In 1993 Michael Spindler replaced John Sculley as chief executive officer of Apple. That same year the company introduced the Newton, a handheld communications device with several functions including the ability to translate handwriting into typewritten text. The company also announced restructuring plans that included substantial layoffs, wage freezes, and changes at the executive level. In 1993 Apple discontinued its Apple II product line.

In 1994 Apple launched the Power Macintosh line of high-performance

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