This Week in Apple History
Published September 21st, 2004
[Authors Note: Owen and I are still behind in this series, but are working hard to catch up - Bryan]
As with most weeks in our chronicle, a theme has emerged as we look back at this week in Apple history. That theme is "change," as there were some pivotal moments for both Apple and its cofounder, Steve Jobs.
Let's start with the latter. It was this week in 1978, a bit more than two years after Apple was officially founded, that Steve Jobs' daughter, Lisa Nicole, was born to his ex-girlfriend. It's well known that Mr. Jobs at first tried to deny that Lisa was his daughter, but it may be less well known that he came to embrace her fully into his life as his daughter. We can only imagine that this was indeed a pivotal moment in his life, and one that brought many changes to the way he looked on life.
On to some more change: It was this week in 1993 that Apple saw its third major turnover in leadership as John Sculley is ousted as Apple CEO, and the age of Michael Spindler is ushered in. While John Sculley deserves much of the blame for Apple losing its way after Steve Jobs was forced out of his leadership role, Mr. Spindler gets most of the credit for the way Apple spiraled out of control during his own tenure.
At the same time, Star Trek was also canceled, and that project would have forever changed Apple, for better or worse, had it come to fruition.
The wider tech world saw some change this week, too, or at least the herald of change, as eWorld was officially launched this week in 1994. eWorld, of course, was co-managed for Apple by an outfit that later became America Online, and the impact of the AOL phenomenon is perhaps the very essence of "change."
The Woz also gets another moment in the spotlight this week, though that moment probably didn't significantly change his life, as it was this week in 2000 that he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall Of Fame
You can find more information on many of the entries below in Owen Linzmayer's excellent Apple Confidential 2.0. The other entries can be found in TMO's archives, and we link to articles whenever we can.
1970: After only one year of study following a transfer from the University of Colorado in Boulder, 19-year-old Steve Wozniak leaves De Anza College in Cupertino. He would return briefly the following year, only to end up transferring again, this time to the University of California in Berkeley.
1978: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' high-school sweetheart and former live-in girlfriend Chris-Ann gives birth to a girl, whom the 23-year-old Jobs helps name Lisa Nicole. Although he initially fought a paternity suit, Jobs eventually agreed to pay child support and has come to accept Lisa as his daughter. A year after Lisa Nicole's birth, Apple began work on a project code-named Lisa, that would ultimately ship as the $10,000 Lisa computer in 1983. Officially Apple explained that Lisa stood for "Local Integrated Software Architecture." This was so obviously contrived that industry wags suggested a more accurate explanation was that Lisa stood for "Let's Invent Some Acronym."
1993: After a decade at the helm of Apple as CEO, John Sculley is replaced by president Michael "The Diesel" Spindler. The board of directors felt that Sculley had invested too much time and energy into the doomed Newton project and helping the Clinton campaign, leading up to Apple's largest quarterly loss to date. Concurrent with Spindler's ascension, Apple abandons the Star Trek project, a skunkworks operation intended to port the Mac OS to the Intel platform to compete directly with Microsoft Windows.
1994: eWorld, Apple's on-again/off-again foray into telecommunications services, opens its electronic doors to Macintosh users. Developed with the aid of America Online, eWorld has a strong sense of community and a friendly, colorful, graphical user interface that uses the metaphor of a town square, with activities centered around familiar buildings. Unfortunately, the pricey, proprietary eWorld fails to catch on in the face of the Internet's meteoric rise. Less than two years later, then CEO Gil Amelio would pull the plug on eWorld's 147,500 subscribers.
2000: The Commerce Department inducts Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak into the National Inventors Hall Of Fame, along with six other individuals, including Walt Disney. Woz's award was in recognition for his invention of the Apple II in 1977, a product that sparked the personal computer revolution.
2002: Apple announces that quarterly revenues and earnings would be below original estimates by about ten percent. Fred Anderson, Apple's CFO, indicated that sales in Japan and Europe were particularly hard hit and that Apple's sales shortfall was in line with sales declines in the broader consumer PC business. When the final numbers were tallied for the fiscal 2002 third quarter ended June 29, the company posted a net profit of $32 million, compared to a net profit of $61 million in the year ago quarter.
is the author of Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the Worlds 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.
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