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This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

February 15-21: Flower Power, Dalmations, & The Supreme Court
February 9th, 2004

31 years ago, Steve Wozniak got his nerd on at HP, designing high-priced calculators. The Woz was still at HP when he came up with the idea for what became the Apple I. That falls in line with the "beginnings" theme of last week's look at this week in Apple History, which segues well with our next entry 8 years later: Apple is going strong, and Steve Jobs began his takeover of the Mac project, much to the chagrin of the father of the Mac, Jef Raskin. We all know how that worked out.

We also have an official ending this week in Apple history, as it was this week in 1995 that the Supreme Court put the kibosh on Apple's legal bid to kill Windows. Apple had lost its lawsuit alleging that Microsoft had illegally used the "look and feel" of the Mac in Windows. Apple lost that suit because the company had effectively licensed that "look and feel" to Microsoft to begin with.

This week in 1999 Apple launched its online Apple Store in Japan, as well as the ill-fated Flower Power and Dalmation iMacs. Those models were spectacularly unsuccessful, and Apple quickly went back to basics with "Snow," and "Graphite" iMac models.

Lastly, it was this week, one year ago, that Microsoft scared the bejesus out of the Mac community by buying Connectix's flagship product, Virtual PC.

This week in Apple History:

February 15-21

1973: Steve Wozniak starts working his first "real job" in Hewlett-Packard’s Advanced Products Division, where he designed new handheld calculators at an annual salary of US$24,000.

1981: A month after Steve Jobs muscled his way into the Macintosh project, Jef Raskin complains about his meddling to then Apple president Mike Scott. Within a year, Raskin would resign and Jobs would assume full control over the Mac.

1995: The United States Supreme Court rejects Apple's appeal regarding its lawsuit against Microsoft for similarities between Windows and the Macintosh.

1998: Former Apple exec Mark Gonzales leaves struggling Be Inc. for Micron, which is currently headed by former Power Computing head honcho Joel Kocher. Joel Kocher himself originally came from Dell.

1999: Apple launches its online Apple Store in Japan. Steve Jobs touts the fact that some 1,559 new Mac titles had been released since the release of the iMac on May 6th, 1997. Apple Computer, Inc., Compaq Computer Corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic), Royal Philips Electronics, Sony Corporation and Toshiba Corporation band together for a patent pool regarding FireWire.

2000: Microsoft releases Windows 2000. Apple recrosses the 500 MHz line with the introduction of 500 MHz PowerMac G4 and PowerBook G4 models. Apple had originally introduced 500 MHz Power Mac G4s in the Fall of 1999, but had to back off by 50 MHz when Motorola was unable to deliver sufficient quantities of the processors.

2001: Apple introduces the ill-fated Dalmation and Flower Power iMac models in Japan. Elonex IP Holdings and EIP Licensing sues Apple, along with other monitor makers, for patent infringement regarding "low power mode" in monitors.

2002: Jean-Louis Gassée's Be Inc. sues Microsoft for the destruction of its business. Microsoft eventually settled for US$23.25 million but admitted no wrongdoing. Steve Wozniak is elected to the National Academy of Engineering for "the invention and development of the first mass-produced personal computer," referring to the Apple II.

2003: Microsoft buys Connectix's flagship product, Virtual PC, a product that many consider necessary for staying on the Mac platform. The move worries many that Microsoft will stop developing the product, though those worries prove to be unfounded.

is the author of Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company, published by No Starch Press earlier this year (US$13.97 - Amazon).

is the editor of The Mac Observer, and was egged on, in-part, in his obsession with the Mac by Owen's first book, The Mac Bathroom Reader.

You can send your comments directly to Owen and Bryan, or you can also post your comments below.

This Week in Apple History Archives



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