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This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

January 18-24: The Real 1984, Lemmings, Lisa, IIe, More
January 19th, 2004

In some ways, this is "the big week" in this series, which is ironic if you consider the fact that we're just getting going. Be that as it may, Apple officially kicked off the Macintosh revolution this week in 1984 with the airing of the company's aptly named "1984" commercial. As we noted last week, the commercial actually started showing in some theaters the week before. A scant year later, Apple was busily undoing all the good 1984 did by broadcasting "Lemmings." We should also point out that 20 years ago, the Super Bowl aired two weeks earlier than it does currently.

Other beginnings included the launch of the kick-butt Apple IIe computer in 1983, one of Apple's most successful models ever. A year before that, Bill Gates began ripping off the Mac under the guise of making Mac business software. The world has been paying the price ever since.

More recently (2000), Apple gave Steve Jobs an enormous pay package that some have criticized as being extravagant.

January 18-24

1982: Microsoft's Macintosh software development begins, but Bill Gates also starts work on what would eventually become Windows, bringing the Mac's graphical user interface to the IBM PC world.

1983: Apple introduces the "revolutionary" Lisa (US$9,995) and the "evolutionary" Apple IIe (US$1,395).

1984: Against the advice of its board of directors, Apple airs the ground breaking "1984" commercial during Super Bowl XVIII. Two days later, Apple introduces the Lisa 2 (US$3,495) and the original Macintosh 128K ($2,495).

1985: Apple airs "Lemmings" commercial during Super Bowl XIX. Instead of convincing customers to buy The Macintosh Office, the dark advertisement offends its audience.

1989: Apple introduces the US$4,400 Mac SE/30, which was essentially a Mac IIx in a Mac SE case. It was the first compact Mac that shipped with a FDHD (floppy disk, high density) 1.4MB SuperDrive.

1998: Japanese cloner Akia (not to be mistaken for the furniture store of a similar name) becomes the latest in a string of Apple licensees to pull the plug on cloning as Apple worked to shut them all down. On the executive side, Phil Schiller is bumped up to VP of product marketing, replacing long-time Apple veteran Jim Gable.

1999: PC Data names iMac the best selling computer of the December quarter of 1998.

2000: IMETEC's billion dollar patent-infringement suit against Apple is dismissed. Apple's board raises the hackles of investors by giving Steve Jobs 10 million options and a US$90 million Gulfstream V jet.

2002: Steve Wozniak announces funding of his newest technology startup, Wheels of Zeus.

2003: Apple joins with Microsoft, Dell, and other companies to fight the CBDTPA, a law seeking to put hardware copyright control in all computers.

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.

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