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Fifty Years of Apple

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 01: People buy the new Apple iPad Air at the Apple Store on November 1, 2013 in New York City. The new iPad, the fifth generation of the popular tablet, is 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the current fourth-generation iPad. It has the same 9.7-inch screen as previous iPads and uses the same A7 processing chip that’s in the iPhone 5S. The iPad Air, which went on sale today, will start at $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model and go up to $629 for a 16GB with 4G LTE connectivity. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Yes I am one of those diehard Apple evangelists. Having used both since the mid 1980’s I am now and always will be a Mac user. There is no comparison between the Mac and the IBM type PC. I got a Mac Plus back in 1988 and thought I died and went to heaven. It was actually a computer that thought like I thought.

While IBM’s were limited to file names with 8 letters the Mac had something like 25. Apples came with sound built in; no extra sound card to buy and install. Pull down menus and a handy mouse added so much usability and functionality to the computer.

How Apple Got Started

Three partners, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne, who knew each other from their days working at Atari, founded the most valuable technology company on earth on April 1, 1976. January 3, 1977 was the official incorporation date of Apple Computer, Inc. The word “computer” would eventually be dropped from the company name as Apple moved into phones and music.

Where did the Apple startup money come from? Jobs sold his Volkswagen van and Wozniak sold his Hewlett-Packard scientific calculator for $500. That would be about $2,000 in 2013 dollars.

The first true investor in Apple was entrepreneur Mike Markkula. He was Apple’s chairman from 1985 to 1997 and wrote several programs for the Apple II computer.

You might not be familiar with the name Ronald Wayne, one of the original founders. That’s because Wayne sold his shares back to the company for $800. But before leaving the company he wrote the operating manual for the Apple 1, he drafted the partnership agreement of the company and he also drew the first Apple logo. He claims not to regret that decision.

Apple’s Amazing Profitability

Apple went public on December 12. 1980 and made 40 Apple employees instant millionaires. It surpassed Ford Motor Companies 1956 IPO. It sold out in minutes driving the price of the stock up an astounding 32 percent. Apple became the fastest growing company in history when it arrived at #441on the list of Fortune 500 after being in business just five short years.

Most of Apple’s $65 billion annual revenue comes from products invented in the past ten years — the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and iTunes. Half of that comes from products developed in the past four years.

Apple makes big bucks on each of its products. Forty million iPhones produced $625 each in revenues. Each iPod accounted for $164, each Mac $1,279 in profits and $665 for each iPad. In 2010, the iTunes music platform reported sales of $4 billion. That would be one billion dollars more than Warner Music Group, one of the world’s largest music companies.

Some Final Thoughts

Apple is truly an amazing story. I suggest you read up on just how much this single entity changed business for all time. Three guys had an idea and found a way to make it work. They did it to make a difference; not to make a buck. Do you have the next big idea?

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