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This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

January 20-31: Mr. Spindler Goes To Cupertino, Pixar Disney Spat
January 25th, 2004
(Last updated January 29th, 2005)

Michael Spindler may well be the epitome of the Peter Principle. That principle says that people tend to rise to their highest level of incompetence, and with all due respect for Mr. Spindler's successes in Apple's European operations, he was arguably Apple's worst CEO. It was this week in Apple history that Mr. Spindler moved to Cupertino to begin his ascent to that position.

Speaking of former CEOs whose shadow on Apple was on the shorter side, Gil Amelio began a new gig on the board of Computer Sentry Software this week in 1999. That same year, Apple ran one of our favorite Super Bowl ads, HAL. Unfortunately, the company didn't follow that ad up with much of anything, and it didn't have nearly the same impact that 1984 had some 15 years before.

Which offers us a great segue, because it was this week in 2001 that 1984 was voted the second best ad of all time by the readers of USA Today.

Lastly, it was this week in 2002 that the gorgeous flat-panel iMac began shipping.

January 25-31

1990: Michael Spindler moves to Cupertino after being named chief operating officer and executive vice president of Apple. Within three and a half years, Spindler will replace John Sculley as CEO.

1994: CEO Michael Spindler announces plans to license Power Macs, a move that critics deem too little, too late.

1995: Apple announces the Newton MessagePad 120 (US$599).

1996: Apple's board of directors rejects Sun Microsystems’ buyout offer of US$23 a share.

1997: Apple releases System 7.6, which features improved reliability.

1998: Claris -- Apple's one-time software spin-off -- is renamed FileMaker Corp.

1999: Former Apple CEO Gil Amelio joins the board of Computer Sentry Software. Apple settles a lawsuit with the FTC regarding complaints about the company charging for tech support that had been promised as free. Apple runs the HAL Super Bowl ad.

2001: USA Today's readers vote Apple's 1984 ad as the second best ad of all time.

2002: Apple begins shipping the US$1,299 flat-panel 15-inch iMac created by industrial designer Jonathan Ive. The company claims some 150,000 pre-orders for the new unit. Apple also crossed the 1 GHz speed barrier for the first time by announcing a dual-GHz Power Mac G4 tower.

2003: iLife begins shipping, and Apple announces what will be the last upgrade to the Power Mac G4 product line (dual 1.42 GHz). Apple counter-sues Unova, with both companies accusing each other of patent violations.

2004: Pixar and Disney end talks on renewing their distribution deal for Pixar movies." After 10 months of trying to strike a deal with Disney, we're moving on," Mr. Jobs said. "We've had a great run together -- one of the most successful in Hollywood history -- and it's a shame that Disney won't be participating in Pixar's future successes."

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.

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