First Power Macs Ship

A decade after the 8MHz Mac 128K shipped, Apple makes a bold technological leap to a completely new architecture with PowerPC-based models starting at 60MHz, while maintaining backwards compatibility. Honorable Mention First Mac License Granted: Desperate to boost market share, Apple finally agrees to allow third-party vendors to create legit Mac clones.

Apple Sues Microsoft

After watching its Macintosh products steadily lose market share to Wintel clones, Apple finally sues Microsoft, claiming Windows 2.03 infringes on Lisa/Mac audiovisual copyrights. Honorable Mention Next Computer Introduced: Apple’s sole hardware release of 1988, the Mac IIx, pales in comparison to Jobs’ Next Computer, a 12-inch cube running a Unix-derived operating system.

Jobs Resigns From Apple

After losing a boardroom struggle with Sculley, Jobs resigns from Apple, taking a loyal band of employees that would start NeXT. Honorable Mention Microsoft Granted Mac License: In exchange for delaying a Windows version of Excel, Apple grants Microsoft a license to use some Macintosh technology.

Original Mac Introduced

The much-anticipated Macintosh, “the computer for the rest of us,” finally ships. It comes with 128K of memory and a price tag of $2,495. Honorable Mention ‘1984’ Commercial Airs: Against the advice of its board, Apple announces the Macintosh by airing the Ridley Scott-directed ‘1984’ commercial during the Super Bowl.

Sculley Named President, CEO

John Sculley, president of Pepsi-Cola, succumbs to Jobs’ promise of a “chance to change the world” as president and CEO of Apple. Honorable Mention Lisa Introduced: The $9,995 Lisa is the world’s first commercial computer with a mouse and GUI, but it bombs due to high cost, slow speed, and incompatibility.

1980: Apple Goes Public

In the largest IPO since Ford went public in 1956, Apple debuts on the stock market with a valuation of $1.8 billion. Of Apple’s 1,000 employees, more than 40 became instant millionaires thanks to their stock options. Honorable Mention Apple III Ships: Priced from $4,340 to $7,800, the Apple III is supposed to be the firm’s flagship business computer, but instead flops badly due to reliability issues.

Apple Disk II Introduced

The Apple Disk II external drive stores 110K on 5.25-inch floppy disks. At $495, Woz’s creation is half as expensive as competitive floppy drives, and much more reliable than cassette tape storage systems. Honorable Mention Apple III Project Starts: Anxious for a follow-up hit to the popular Apple II, Apple launches the ill-fated Apple III project with engineer Wendell Sander at the helm.

1977: Apple II Introduced

In contrast to the $666 Apple I, a kit computer with limited appeal, the $1,298 Apple II is the first personal computer designed for the mass market, thanks to its attractive low-slung case that was complete with standard keyboard, power supply, and color graphics capability. Honorable Mention Scott Named President: Markkula’s former Fairchild Semiconductor co-worker Michael Scott brings professional management and corporate infrastructure to Apple.

Apple Inc. Founded

On April Fools’ Day, Apple Computer Company is founded in a residential garage by Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak, both college drop-outs. Fearing financial ruin, the third co-founder—Ronald Wayne—relinquishes his 10 percent stake in the partnership for only $800 less than two weeks later. Honorable Mention Markkula Writes Business Plan: In November, chip industry veteran Mike Markkula helps Jobs write a business plan, predicting sales of $500 million in 10 years.