Apple became a $2 trillion company on Wednesday. But the iPhone-maker almost didn't make it this far — it struggled in the '90s until Steve Jobs returned as the company's CEO.  Apple has weathered hits and flops over the years, from the launch of the influential Apple II to the misguided Newton MessagePad.  But these days, Apple is on top of the consumer electronics market, thanks at first to devices like the iMac and the iPod, and later, to the iPhone.  Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Apple just reached a $2 trillion market cap, a milestone made even more significant when you consider that Apple almost didn't get the chance to make it this far. When Steve Jobs took over as CEO of Apple in 1997, the company had been struggling to find its legs in a market increasingly dominated by Microsoft and its partners.  Indeed, Michael Dell himself once quipped that if he were in Jobs' shoes, he'd shut Apple down and return the money to the shareholders.  Here's a look into the history of Apple in photos, from its inception, through its hard times, to the triumphant return of Jobs. SEE ALSO: 'Amazon' wasn't the original name of Jeff Bezos' company, and 14 other little-known facts about the early days of Amazon Apple was cofounded on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in Los Altos, California. There was a third cofounder, too: Ronald Wayne. Jobs brought Wayne on board to provide business guidance for the two young cofounders. Wayne sketched the first Apple logo by hand. Source: Business Insider Wayne ended up leaving the company before it was even officially incorporated. He took an $800 check for his shares in the company. Source: Business Insider Apple's first "office" was the garage at Jobs' parents' house. Source: Business Insider The company's first product was the Apple I, which was just a motherboard with a processor and some memory, intended for hobbyists. Customers had to build their own case and add their own keyboard and monitor, as seen in the picture. It sold for $666.66 — seriously. The Apple I was invented by Wozniak, who also hand-built every kit. Source: CNET Meanwhile, Jobs handled the business end, mainly trying to convince would-be investors that the personal computer market was primed to explode. Eventually, Jobs would bring in Mike Markkula, who made a crucial $250,000 angel investment and came to work for Apple as employee No. 3, with a one-third share in the company. Source: The New York Times, CNBC Apple would officially incorporate in 1977, thanks to guidance from Markkula. A man named Michael Scott (no, not the one from "The Office") was brought in at Markkula's suggestion to serve as the company's first president and CEO. The thought was that Jobs was too young and undisciplined to serve as CEO. Source: Business Insider 1977 also saw the introduction of the Apple II, the personal computer designed by Wozniak that would go on to take the world by storm. Source: National Museum of American History The Apple II's killer app was VisiCalc, a groundbreaking spreadsheet software that propelled the computer ahead of market leaders Tandy and Commodore. With VisiCalc, Apple could sell the Apple II to the business customer. Source: National Museum of American History By 1978, Apple would actually have a real office, with employees and an Apple II production line. Source: Business Insider The Xerox PARC lab is world-famous for its technological accomplishments, which include the laser printer, mouse, and ethernet networking. In 1979, Apple engineers were allowed to visit the PARC campus for three days, in exchange for the option to buy 100,000 shares of Apple for $10 a share. Source: Newsweek In 1980, Apple released the Apple III, a business-focused computer that was supposed to compete with the growing threat of IBM and Microsoft. But the Apple III was only a stopgap, and Xerox PARC had gotten the young Jobs thinking in a different direction. Source: Byte Magazine, Newsweek Xerox PARC convinced Jobs that the future of computing was with a graphical user interface (GUI), like the kind we're used to today. Jobs spearheaded the effort to equip Apple's next-generation Lisa computer with a GUI, but was bumped from the project thanks to infighting. Lisa was released in 1983 to much fanfare, but disastrous sales — it was too expensive and didn't have enough software support. Source: Newsweek, CNBC Jobs ended up leading the second project, the Apple Macintosh, billed as the most user-friendly computer to date. It would go on to become popular with graphic-design professionals, who liked its visual chops (even though it was in black and white). It was still very expensive, however. Source: The Guardian Around the time of the launch of the first Macintosh in 1983, Apple got a new CEO: John Sculley. Sculley was serving as Pepsi's youngest-ever CEO, but Jobs managed to bring him to Apple with the now-legendary pitch: "Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?" Source: Forbes In 1984, Apple would release the TV commercial that would make it a household name. This ad, appropriately called "1984," was directed by Ridley Scott and cost the company $1.5 million. It aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, and never again. Youtube Embed: 1280pxHeight: 720px Source: Business Insider This was also when tensions between Jobs and Bill Gates started to run high. Originally, Microsoft was working hard at making software for the Macintosh. But those plans were scuttled in 1983 when Microsoft revealed that it, too, was working on a graphical user interface called Windows. Source: Business Insider The Macintosh had strong sales, but not enough to break IBM's dominance. This led to a lot of friction between Jobs — the head of the Macintosh group who liked doing things his own way — and Sculley, who wanted stricter oversight on future products in light of the Lisa disaster and disappointment of the Macintosh. It got to the point that Apple's board specifically instructed Sculley to "contain" Jobs. Source: Business Insider, Fortune Things came to a head in 1985 when Jobs tried to stage a coup and oust Sculley — but Apple's board of directors took Sculley's side and removed Jobs from his managerial duties. A furious Jobs quit and went on to found NeXT, a computer company making advanced workstations where he had total control. Source: Fortune, Business Insider Wozniak left around the same time in 1985, saying that the company was going in the wrong direction. He sold most of his shares. Source: CNN With Jobs gone, Sculley had a free hand at Apple. At first, things seemed great, and Apple introduced its PowerBook laptop and System 7 operating system in 1991. System 7 introduced color to the Macintosh operating system, and would stick around (with updates) until OS X was released in 2001. Source: Engadget, Cult of Mac The 1990s would see Apple get into lots of new markets, none of which really worked out. Possibly the most famous Apple flop of the '90s was 1993's Newton MessagePad, which was Sculley's own brainchild. It literally created the market for "personal digital assistants," but it was $700 and did little more than take notes and keep track of your contacts. Source: Baltimore Sun, Time, MacWorld But Sculley's longest-lasting mistake was in spending lots of time and lots of Apple's cash on bringing System 7 to the brand-new IBM/Motorola PowerPC microprocessor instead of the dominant Intel processor architecture. Most software was written for Intel processors, plus they got cheaper and cheaper over the years. Source: Cult of Mac At the same time, Microsoft's influence was on the rise. Macs offered an excellent, but limited, library of software on expensive computers. Meanwhile, Microsoft was selling Windows 3.0 on cheap, commodity computers. Source: Microsoft Between the high-profile flops and the costly decision to move to PowerPC, Apple's board had had enough. After Apple missed on its first quarter earnings in 1993, Sculley stepped down and was replaced as CEO by Michael Spindler, a German expatriate who had been with Apple since 1980. Source: Washington Post, Los Angeles Times Spindler had the unfortunate job of following through with Sculley's big PowerPC mistake. In 1994, the first Macintosh running on a PowerPC was released. But Apple's fortunes continued to sag as Windows took off. After acquisition talks with IBM, Sun MicroSystems, and Philips all fell through, Apple's board replaced Spindler with Gil Amelio in 1996. Source: The New York Times Amelio's tenure was equally troubled. Under his reign, Apple stock hit a 12-year low (largely because Steve Jobs himself sold 1.5 million Apple shares in a single transaction). Amelio decided to just purchase Jobs' NeXT Computer for $429 million in February 1997 to bring him back to Apple. Source: CNET, CNET On the July 4 weekend that same year, Jobs would stage a boardroom coup and convince Apple's board to install him as interim CEO. Amelio resigned a week later. Source: The New York Times 1997 would also see the introduction of Apple's famous "Think Different" ad campaign, celebrating famous artists, scientists, and musicians. Source: Cult of Mac Under the new era of Jobs' leadership, the company would make nice with Microsoft, which invested $150 million in Apple circa 1997. Source: CNBC It was a new era for hardware and software, too. Jobs had Jony Ive spearhead the design of the iMac, an all-in-one computer released in 1998. In 2000, Jobs introduced Mac OS X, based on the operating system from NeXT Computers, finally replacing System 7. And in 2006, Apple finally moved to an Intel-based system architecture. Source: CNET, Apple, Apple Apple had two massively influential product releases in the 2000s, beginning with the iPod in 2001. It blew other MP3 players out of the water and radically altered the way we listen to music. The iPod also launched Apple's white earbuds as a status symbol. Source: Business Insider But the single biggest victory for Apple — and arguably the world of technology as a whole — was 2007's introduction of the iPhone. When it went on sale, customers lined up outside stores in the US to get their hands on one. Source: Cult of Mac Since then, Apple has gone on to release 17 more models and, under CEO Tim Cook — who took over after Jobs' death in 2011 — Apple has introduced new hardware product lines, including the Apple Watch and AirPods. Source: CNBC The company has also expanded into services, which has helped fuel Apple's growth as iPhone sales have lagged. Apple now offers its own music- and video-streaming services, its own payments system and credit card, and other subscription offerings in news and gaming. Source: Business Insider In August 2020, Apple hit a new milestone: It became a $2 trillion company, just 24 months after reaching the $1 trillion threshold. Source: Business Insider
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and Apple cofounder Steve Jobs began building their companies right around the same time, and it was a natural catalyst for their rivalry.  While the two founders had periods of civility, at other times, they were at each other's throats.  Jobs insulted Gates' taste and imagination, while Gates once described Jobs as "weirdly flawed as a human being." But the two execs appeared to get along better later in life, and when Jobs died in 2011, Gates said that they "spurred each other on, even as competitors." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs never quite got along. Over the course of 30-plus years, the two went from cautious allies to bitter rivals to something almost approaching friends — sometimes, they were all three at the same time. It seems unlikely that Apple would be where it is today without Microsoft, or Microsoft without Apple. Here's the history of the love-hate relationship between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have feuded for over a decade about space travel. Here are 9 rivalries between some of the world's biggest tech CEOs. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs weren't always enemies — Microsoft made software early on for the mega-popular Apple II PC, and Gates would routinely fly down to Cupertino to see what Apple was working on. Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson In the early '80s, Jobs flew up to Washington to sell Gates on the possibility of making Microsoft software for the Apple Macintosh computer, with its revolutionary graphical user interface. Gates wasn't particularly impressed with what he saw as a limited platform — or Jobs' attitude. Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson "It was kind of a weird seduction visit where Steve was saying we don't really need you and we're doing this great thing, and it's under the cover. He's in his Steve Jobs sales mode, but kind of the sales mode that also says, 'I don't need you, but I might let you be involved,'" Gates later said. Source: Fortune Still, Gates appeared alongside Jobs in a 1983 video — a "Dating Game" riff — screened for Apple employees ahead of the Macintosh's launch. In that video, Gates compliments the Mac, saying that it "really captures people's imagination." Source: Business Insider Microsoft and Apple worked hand-in-hand for the first few years of the Macintosh. At one point, Gates quipped that he had more people working on the Mac than Jobs did. Source: Yahoo Their relationship, already kind of rocky, fell apart when Microsoft announced the first version of Windows in 1985. A furious Jobs accused Gates and Microsoft of ripping off the Macintosh. But Gates didn't care — he knew that graphical interfaces would be big, and didn't think Apple had the exclusive rights to the idea. Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson Besides, Gates knew full well that Apple took the idea for the graphical interface from the Xerox PARC labs, a research institution they both admired. Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson When Jobs accused Gates of stealing the idea, he famously answered: "Well, Steve, I think there's more than one way of looking at it. I think it's more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson From there, the gloves were off between the two founders. "They just ripped us off completely, because Gates has no shame," Jobs once said. To which Gates replied: "If he believes that, he really has entered into one of his own reality distortion fields." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson Jobs thought that Gates was a stick in the mud, far too focused on business. "He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson Gates said Jobs was "fundamentally odd" and "weirdly flawed as a human being." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson But Gates respected Jobs' knack for design: "He really never knew much about technology, but he had an amazing instinct for what works." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson In 1985, Steve Jobs resigned from Apple after a power shift to start his own computer company, NeXT. But even though Jobs was no longer working for Microsoft's biggest competitor, it didn't improve relations between the two. Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson Jobs thought that if NeXT lost and Microsoft Windows won, "we are going to enter a computer Dark Ages for about 20 years," he told Playboy in 1985. Source: The Telegraph Still, Windows was winning. By the late '80s, it became clear that Microsoft was just about unstoppable on the PC. Fast-forward to 1996, when Jobs appeared in a PBS documentary called "Triumph of the Nerds" and ripped into Gates and Microsoft, saying that they made "third-rate products." Source: PBS Jobs went on in that same documentary: "The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their products." Source: PBS By the late '90s, Apple was in serious danger of going under. When then-Apple CEO Gil Amelio moved to buy NeXT in 1996 and bring Jobs back to Apple, Gates tried to talk him out of it. Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson Gates said this to Amelio: "I know his technology, it's nothing but a warmed-over UNIX, and you'll never be able to make it work on your machines. Don't you understand that Steve doesn't know anything about technology? He's just a super salesman. I can't believe you're making such a stupid decision." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson But by 1997, Jobs was Apple's CEO. At his first Macworld keynote, he announced that he had accepted an investment from Microsoft to keep Apple afloat. Bill Gates appeared on a huge screen via satellite link. The audience booed. Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson Gates clearly admired Jobs, even if they didn't always see eye-to-eye. When Apple introduced iTunes, Gates sent an internal email to Microsoft that said, "Steve Jobs' ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right, and market things as revolutionary are amazing things." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson When Apple introduced the iPod in 2001, Gates sent another email: "I think we need some plan to prove that, even though Jobs has us a bit flat footed again, we can move quick and both match and do stuff better." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson But Jobs was still pretty down on Microsoft, especially after Steve Ballmer took over from Bill Gates as CEO in 2000. "They've clearly fallen from their dominance. They've become mostly irrelevant," Jobs once said. "I don't think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson Conversely, Gates thought much of Apple's post-iPhone success came from Jobs himself, and not from Apple's "closed" philosophy. "The integrated approach works well when Steve is at the helm. But it doesn't mean it will win many rounds in the future," Gates said. Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson And Gates didn't think too much of the iPad. "[I]t's not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, 'Oh my God, Microsoft didn't aim high enough.'" Source: CBS MoneyWatch But Jobs didn't think much of the Windows ecosystem either: "Of course, his fragmented model worked, but it didn't make really great products. It produced crappy products." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson Jobs didn't even have any mercy when Gates decided to quit Microsoft in 2006 to focus more on his foundation. "Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he's more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology," Jobs said. Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson Still, in a weird way, the two men clearly respected each other. Appearing on stage together at the 2007 AllThingsD conference, Gates said, "I’d give a lot to have Steve’s taste." Source: The Wall Street Journal And Jobs once said, "I admire him for the company he built — it’s impressive — and I enjoyed working with him. He’s bright and actually has a good sense of humor." Source: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson After Jobs died, Gates said, "I respect Steve, we got to work together. We spurred each other on, even as competitors. None of [what he said] bothers me at all." Source: Yahoo Ultimately, both men claim quite a legacy: Jobs built Apple into what is now the world's most valuable company, while Gates is the second-richest person on Earth. Source: CNBC, Bloomberg
Just because you founded a high-flying tech company doesn't mean you can't be asked to leave.Steve Jobs himself was once ousted by Apple (or left voluntarily, depending on who you believe), and spent years running his own company before coming back into the fold as CEO.More recently, Uber founder Travis Kalanick was ousted as CEO, following a year of scandals for the company.Here are 8 tech executives who were once ousted from the companies they helped to build.More recent examples include Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick, who left the company after a year of scandals, and Martin Eberhard, the ousted cofounder of Tesla.Take a look at 8 tech executives who were ousted from companies they helped to build:
In August 2011, Tim Cook took the job as CEO of Apple, leaving many wondering if he could fill the shoes left by his friend and mentor, Steve Jobs.That leaves Cook looking pretty good.He had come out of seemingly nowhere to lead such a big, important company.He grew up in nearby Robertsdale, where he went to high school.His father, Donald Cook, was a shipyard worker.In 1982, right out of Auburn, Cook joined IBM in its still new PC division — before Microsoft Windows was even a thing.
To right the ship, Apple brought Steve Jobs back as the company's interim CEO.The problem, Jobs said, was that Apple had lost its focus.As Apple's product manager of automation, he was tasked with finding new and clever ways to for users take tedious and repetitive tasks on the Mac—like organizing a bunch of files at once or resizing massive groups of photos—and write small bits of code to complete those tasks quickly."I sort of saw it as 'I might be this dog on my square yard of dirt, but I know every bit of that square yard and you're stepping on my yard," he says, "'I'm gonna bite your leg.'"In the early 2000s, he created a program that let Mac users turn clunky, multi-step tasks into something that could be run at any time with just a double click of the mouse.Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says AppleScript "put incredible power in the hands of regular users without putting a lifetime of effort into this language."
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, leaving the world to wonder if Apple is going to pull something special out of its sleeves with this year's much-anticipated new model.But back in 1997, right when it looked like the company was about to completely implode, Apple was celebrating another anniversary.It had been twenty years since Apple had officially incorporated, and it marked the occasion with the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, or TAM.The TAM, retailing for a whopping $7,499, was an all-in-one PC, kind of a spiritual ancestor of the iMac, back when the whole idea of a monitor that contains the computer was totally crazy.It was designed by a young Jony Ive, who would go on to become Apple's resident creative genius.Take a look:If you feel like you've seen this before, you might be right.Jerry's apartment sported a Twentieth Anniversary Mac during the final season of "Seinfeld," and Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred had one in "Batman & Robin."Apple history holds that the TAM started as a prototype for a mass-market consumer device, but then-Apple CEO Gil Amelio and his executives rushed it to market as a luxury novelty.
Nowadays, Apple is the most valuable company in the world, thanks in huge part to the vision of the company's late cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs.But if you only saw the movie, you got less than half of the story.Once upon a time, Apple was a disaster, chewing through CEOs and delivering one bad quarter of financial results after another.In 1996, knowing he had to do something dramatic, Apple's CEO at the time Gil Amelio negotiated a deal to buy NeXT, the computer company owned by an exiled Jobs, in hopes that he would bring some much-needed direction to the company.Instead, Jobs manipulated the board into getting Amelio fired and decided that if Apple were to be saved, he would be the one to do it — even if it meant getting help from the company's rivals at Microsoft.Here's what happened next.
Here, Jason Snell remembers two such moments.On the occasion of the ninth anniversary of the launch of the iPhone, former Apple PR leader Natalie Kerris tweeted she works at Twitter now, of course she tweeted a link to a YouTube video collecting angry Steve Jobs keynote moments.At Macworld Expo New York in the summer of 2001, Jobs and Apple presented a Keynote that won t go down as one of the industry s finest.Or as Macworld s Philip Michaels wrote afterward: When folks file away Macworld Expo 2001, New York Edition, into their noggins, the lasting image probably won t be Steve Jobs pointing with pride to the new QuickSilver G4 casings or developer after developer taking the stage to sing the praises of Mac OS X.Instead, there s a good chance that the defining moment of the Wednesday keynote could be the sight of an irritated Jobs tossing a digital camera to an unseen assistant after the confounded thing—the camera, that is, and not the assistant—failed to cooperate in a demo of OS X 10.1 s new built-in support for digital cameras.