You might have heard of this company. They make computers, software, digital music players and many other consumer electronics products and are soon to overtake Exxon as the largest company in existence when measured by market capitalization. We are, of course, talking about Apple. While today’s youth only know Apple for what they are today, many people remember when Microsoft appeared to be putting Apple out of business.
Apple was started by three men on April 1, 1976. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne started Apple solely to sell the new Apple I personal computer kit which was hand build by Wozniak. This was hardly a computer, though. Imagine getting your “computer” home and seeing only a circuit board sitting in front of you. That was the Apple I computer.
With optional case, keyboard, and other pieces, it was barely a computer but this was the start of an empire. Later the Apple II was introduced and from there a line of computers including the more Apple computers and a lower cost line, the Macintosh came out this fast growing company.
Then, in the 1990’s, due to a series of highly unsuccessful product offerings, Apple was in a decline. They tried to sell products like speakers, TV appliances, and portable CD audio players. In addition to this, their Apple and Macintosh lines of computers were competing against each other causing customer confusion. Also during this time, a new company was quickly gaining market share with their easy to use software. This company was Microsoft.
After many failed attempts and ousted CEOs, Apple brought back Steve Jobs at their interim CEO which later became permanent. Since his reinstatement in 1997, Apple has slowly risen back to profitability. Their product line is known worldwide for being the most innovative and cutting-edge products in the technology sector. Thanks to products like the IMac, IPod, and IPad, Apple is once again an example of how a company can emerge from near bankruptcy to thriving.
What can the small business owner learn from Apple? First, even the best companies go through dark periods and even for the best known technology company with the best minds in the world working for them, Apple still fails with some products. Don’t give up and remember that even if 5 products fail, it only takes one successful product to make up for the losses.