The Mac Observer

Skip navigational links

This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

April 1 - 10: Apple Founded, John Sculley Chooses Change, Irony
Updated April 4th, 2005

This is the big week in Apple history. It was this week in 1976 that Apple officially got off the ground. It was then that Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, the Pete Best of Apple's early history.

Mr. Wayne was brought in, in part, because he had money, and he quickly got worried about being the only one that creditors could come after if this whole personal computer thing didn't work out. Showing his class and wisdom, however, Mr. Wayne reveals in Apple Confidential 2.0 that he has no regrets, having made the best decision he could with the information he had.

Ironically, it was also this week, but in 1983, that cofounder Steve Jobs brought on the man who would eventually see him ousted from the company he founded. Steve Jobs offered John Sculley, CEO of Pepsi, and the creator of the Pepsi Challenge, the reins at Apple. See the entry below for more information.

Moving on to 1990, it was this week that Mr. Sculley finally and fully embraced the very project that would be integral to his own ouster at Apple, the Newton.

This week is just chock full of irony, because it was this week in 1998 that Apple, once again controlled by Steve Jobs, began selling the millions of shares in ARM that it owned. Those shares came to Apple as part of the Newton project -- Apple invested in ARM in order to get the company's RISC processors to power the Newton -- and though the Newton cost Apple more than a half billion dollars, the company eventually made some US$792 million in pre-tax profits from the sale of those shares.

So, to put this in perspective, Steve Jobs brings on John Sculley, who eventually comes to blows with Steve Jobs, who then leaves Apple when the board of directors and some of Apple's top execs back John Sculley. John Sculley then backs the Newton project, which was a big disaster at first, and leads, in part, to John Sculley's own ouster; but, just a couple of years after that, Steve Jobs returns to Apple, kills the Newton, and sells all those shares of ARM that Mr. Sculley had acquired, making the company more than a quarter billion dollars in profit above and beyond the cost of the Newton itself, but all on Mr. Jobs' watch.

See? This is a week of ironies. Get all the details in Apple Confidential 2.0.

Other notable bits of news: It was this week in 2000 that Pascal Bagni left NEC Packard Bell to become Apple's head honcho in Europe, and it was this week in 2003 that Apple issued some 30,000 stock options to former US vice president Al Gore, Apple's newest (as of this writing) board of directors member.

There is much more in this week in Apple History:

April 1-10

1939: John Sculley is born in New York. Forty four years later, this Aries would join Apple at president and CEO.

1976: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne found Apple Computer Company as a partnership on April Fools’ Day. The tiny company assembles Apple I motherboards in the Jobs family garage at 11161 Crist Drive in Los Altos. Within days, the 21-year-old Jobs borrows US$5,000 from friends and obtains US$15,000 worth of parts on credit to fulfill the Byte Shop’s order for 50 computers.

1983: John Sculley joins Apple as president and CEO after 18 months of wooing by chairman Steve Jobs. Sculley had been making US$500,000 a year as president of Pepsi-Cola USA, the beverage subsidiary of PepsiCo. Jobs convinced Sculley to come to Cupertino by asking him, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” Sculley and Jobs enjoyed a honeymoon period that extended through the launch of the Macintosh, but within two years, they had a boardroom battle that ultimately led to Jobs’ resignation.

1990: John Sculley gives his full support for developing the Newton. As originally envisioned, the US$1,500 Newton personal digital assistant (PDA) is scheduled to ship April 2, 1992. As it turns out, the first Newton MessagePad isn't released until August 2, 1993, at a list price of US$699.

1993: Larry Tesler, who had been in charge of the Newton project since May 1990, returns to Apple's Advanced Technology Group as chief scientist.

1998: Apple begins selling some of its enormous stake in ARM, the manufacturer of the processor that powers Apple's soon-to-be-axed Newton. Sale of the stock over the next couple of years eventually nets Apple several hundred million dollars.

2000: Pascal Cagni leaves NEC Packard Bell to become Apple's vice president of Europe.

2001: Apple jumps 49 spots in the Fortune 500 from #285 to #236.

2002: Apple purchases Zayante, a company focusing on low-level FireWire technologies. Apple also announces that "Zayante's president and CEO Prashant Kanhere will join Apple to promote the adoption of FireWire technology."

In its continuing effort to make the Mac platform a major player in the film industry, Apple joins with Panasonic in adding FireWire support to pro tape decks and pro DV cameras. Apple also announced a new DV software product, Cinema Tools for Final Cut Pro.

2003: Apple issues Al Gore 30,000 stock options at an exercise price of US$14.95. The options came as part of Apple's standard compensation for Board members, which Al Gore joined earlier in the year.

Apple announces DVD Studio Pro 2 (DVD authoring), Final Cut Pro 4 (video editing), and Shake 3 (compositing and visual effects) at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, thereby further solidifying the company's hold on the important professional video market.

Apple gets into a contract dispute with both Dell and Target, two of the company's biggest iPod retailers. The dispute centers around clauses in Apple's reseller contract demanding access to the resellers' financial records for up to five years.

2004: Apple loses the first round of its legal fight against pop legend The Beatles. The Fab Four sued Apple for breach of contract when Apple launched the iTunes Music Store, and Apple had sought to have the case tried in California. This week in 2004, a UK judge rejected Apple's argument, and struck down the request for a venue change.

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

Recent Headlines - Updated October 31st

Fri,5:50 PM
Last Chance for The Complete iOS 8 Course With Swift for $89
4:42 PM
MacTech Conference 2014: Talk to Kelly and Dave!
4:30 PM
Apple Wins the Old-fashioned Way: Outsmart the Competition
3:00 PM
Judge Rules Cops can Force You to Touch ID Unlock your iPhone
2:02 PM
iOS 8: Adding Fitness App Data to the Health App
1:16 PM
TMO Daily Observations: 2014-10-31
11:25 AM
How To Clean Up and Rebuild Apple Mail Data [Yosemite Update]
9:39 AM
Judge to Unseal GT Advanced Bankruptcy Filing Documents
8:45 AM
Yosemite: Maximizing Windows & the Green “Stoplight” Button
Thu,7:17 PM
Meijer, the CurrenctC/MCX Member Who Refuses to Block Apple Pay
6:36 PM
Get Free Bitcoins with 52 Website Faucets that Really Pay [Update]
5:17 PM
Last Chance for The Bluetooth Shower Speaker: $39
  • __________
  • Buy Stuff, Support TMO!
  • Podcast: Mac Geek Gab
  • Podcast: Apple Weekly Report
  • TMO on Twitter!