Apple was founded 46 years ago, on April 1, 1976

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 4
The Apple of 1976 should be unrecognizable compared to today's gigantic corporation, and yet key early decisions by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and more, are still having their effect today.

Steve Jobs with the original Macintosh, made eight years after Apple's founding
Steve Jobs with the original Macintosh, made eight years after Apple's founding


Tim Cook marked the 45th anniversary of Apple with a tweet looking back to his friend and colleague, co-founder Steve Jobs.

As Apple celebrates 45 years today, I'm reminded of Steve's words from many years ago: "It's been an amazing journey so far, yet we have barely begun." Thanks to every member of our Apple family for all you've done to enrich lives. Here's to the next 45 years & beyond!

-- Tim Cook (@tim_cook)


Now in his tenth year as CEO, Tim Cook first joined Apple in 1998. The company was 22 years old then, and heading into a resurgence with the return of Jobs. It had already had most of its growing pains, but was yet to be the powerhouse company it would become.

Apple's three-act story

Today Apple is in the third act of its story. Back in the 1970s, it had its exciting first act, then it went through turmoil in the 1990s for its second, before ultimately becoming the textbook American success story. You can start a multinational, multi-billion dollar company in a garage.

It's not as if starting a company was the obvious move, however. In the mid 1970s, Steve Wozniak had designs for what became known as the Apple I computer, and his friend Steve Jobs had designs on selling them. Woz would've given them away to anyone interested, Jobs would not, and even so, even Steve Jobs did not set out to make a company.

Instead, both of the Steves first tried very hard to sell their ideas to the existing firms they either worked for then or had worked for. Woz was an engineer at Hewlett-Packard at the time, and he managed to get senior engineers to examine his design with a view to HP buying them.

Not only did they agree that it was workable, they also recognized that it could made cheaply -- yet still they passed on it. Woz's ideas didn't fit with what they thought a Hewlett-Packard computer should be.

Atari felt the same. Jobs attempted to get his old employer Atari interested in what would become the Apple II, but he too was rejected. Except that Atari's Al Alcorn put Jobs in touch with venture capitalists, and the road to forming a company was begun.

When they did formally found Apple, it was with another Atari engineer, Ron Wayne. He would famously design the original, immensely ornate Apple logo, and then he would even more famously leave the company before it took off. It's just that he left even faster than you might imagine.

The three men officially formed Apple on April 1, 1976, and Ron Wayne resigned 12 days later. He'd been offered ten percent of Apple, but chose instead to be bought out by Steve Jobs for $800.

That would later be increased as the far more experienced businessman Mark Markkula came on board in 1977 as an investor. Under Markkula, the Apple corporation officially bought out all three of the original partners, for a total of $5,308.96. For legal reasons, Wayne got a third of that despite having already left.

Apple's original founders. L-R: Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Ron Wayne
Apple's original founders. L-R: Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Ron Wayne


It's impossible not to now see his leaving as a mistake, given Apple's overwhelming success. But at the time, he was paid reasonably and he was leaving a firm that had far from a certain future. Amongst the countless times he's been asked about his departure, Ron Wayne claimed in 2013 that he had no regrets at all.

"I count myself extremely fortunate to have been at a turning point in history," he said, "and the establishment of Apple was indeed a turning point in history, although at the time of course, nobody ever knows this."

Apple's first success

After he left but before Markkula turned it into a grownup company, Apple did have its first success -- and it was one that will seem familiar if you follow how the company works today. Apple made 50 Apple-I computers without having any money whatsoever, and it sold them all one day before having to pay its suppliers.

Today Apple has a supremely well-managed approach to its supply chain, but even in 1976 it was literally learning the benefits of finance. It was the first time Steve Jobs had ever heard of what was called 30 days net, meaning you had that long to pay your suppliers. He learned it then because he had to.

Jobs had pitched the Apple-I to Paul Terrell, who was running the then successful Byte Shop. While Jobs wanted to sell the motherboards and kits to have hobbyists make up their own computers, Terrell wanted assembled devices and he got them.

If Apple learned then about finance and supply chains, it learned about business in 1977 when ex-Intel Markkula came on board. As well as reorganizing the business, though, he did something else that is still part of Apple more than four decades later. He set down the company's philosophy.

It's probably part of Business 101 at Harvard that corporations need philosophies, and mission statements, and if you've ever worked for a corporation, you're likely to have a healthily skeptical attitude to them. Yet in Apple's case, the philosophy Markkula wrote was remarkably clear, and the company has stuck to it remarkably consistently.

This was Apple in 1977 - and it's still Apple today.
This was Apple in 1977 - and it's still Apple today.


Steve Jobs would later explain to his biographer Walter Isaacson, that Markkula's point was that making money shouldn't be the goal. You obviously need to, and you even more obviously want to, but if money is the first thought, the company will struggle. Whereas if you make "something you believe in" and you also concentrate on "making a company that will last," the money will follow.

Markkula's "The Apple Marketing Philosophy" is so clearly an Apple idea because it is extremely and consciously simple. The one-page document, written on January 3, 1977, has only two short directives about understand customer needs, and focusing on a few specific products instead of spreading itself too thinly.

Then it concludes with a paragraph about conveying Apple to its customers.
People DO judge a book by its cover. We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software, etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.
To this day, Apple is known for how well it presents its products, how carefully designed the packaging is. Today, that is still part of what makes Apple, Apple.

And it was there, written into the company, right from its very beginnings.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,250member
    Sloppiness is a disease that rots a company from the inside out.
    You can't hope to maintain quality throughout your organisation if you let it slip in any single part of the business. It's a perfectly natural thought to ask yourself "Why should I try hard if my peers aren't"
    jony0watto_cobracgWerks
  • Reply 2 of 29
    You can start a multinational, multi-billion dollar company in a garage.

    Woz should have known that already. He was working for one before Apple. Didn't HP (the HP of old) start in a garage?

    tmayjony0watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 3 of 29
    benji888benji888 Posts: 133member
    It was Apple Computer Inc. until iPod and music became popular, then, sometime before the iPhone it became Apple corporation and they changed the logo from rainbow to solid, they dropped Computer from the name when marketing focus moved off computers. ...the article refers to Apple corporation when it was Apple Computer Inc.
    watto_cobraurahara
  • Reply 4 of 29
    mr lizardmr lizard Posts: 353member
    It's impossible not to now see his leaving as a mistake, given Apple's overwhelming success.”

    Sure, if your overriding priority in life is amassing wealth. I wonder if Ron Wayne agrees that it’s impossible not to see it as a mistake. Let’s ask. 

    “Amongst the countless times he's been asked about his departure, Ron Wayne said in 2013 that he had no regrets at all.”

    There we go. 


    muthuk_vanalingambeowulfschmidtdarkvaderFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 5 of 29
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,761member
    You can start a multinational, multi-billion dollar company in a garage.

    Woz should have known that already. He was working for one before Apple. Didn't HP (the HP of old) start in a garage?

    Yes
    edited April 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,161member
    I hitched a ride on Apple’s bandwagon in 1982 with an Apple ][+ and have never looked back. There’s something about the company even today that I find fascinating. Now that Apple is a trillion dollar company it has its problems and foibles but at the core it’s still the company it was in the early days. In my now 38 years on the bandwagon I have been treated well by Apple in both purchases and repairs. They fixed my late 2013 27”  iMac when the spring assembly holding the head up broke, long out of warranty, at no charge, with apologies. They fixed my water cooled G5, also at no charge. And they replaced my Power Mac 8100 immediately when the power supply failed, no questions asked. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobraBeatsmwhitejony0argonautcgWerksFileMakerFellerh2p
  • Reply 7 of 29
    Fred257Fred257 Posts: 210member
    I’ve been following Apple Insider since 1997.  I started using Apple computers for electronic music in 1988.  Using Cubase and a Yamaha DX7 in college.  I had an IBM 486 at one point but got an Apple desktop in 1997 and I haven’t looked back..
    watto_cobraBeatsjony0argonauth2p
  • Reply 8 of 29
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    lkrupp said:
    I hitched a ride on Apple’s bandwagon in 1982 with an Apple ][+ and have never looked back. There’s something about the company even today that I find fascinating. Now that Apple is a trillion dollar company it has its problems and foibles but at the core it’s still the company it was in the early days. In my now 38 years on the bandwagon I have been treated well by Apple in both purchases and repairs. They fixed my late 2013 27”  iMac when the spring assembly holding the head up broke, long out of warranty, at no charge, with apologies. They fixed my water cooled G5, also at no charge. And they replaced my Power Mac 8100 immediately when the power supply failed, no questions asked. 
    You're clearly one of a kind.

    If you ask people around here, walking into an Apple Store is just asking to have your dog shot.
    ronnwatto_cobrajony0FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 29
    JBSloughJBSlough Posts: 92member
    lkrupp said:
    I hitched a ride on Apple’s bandwagon in 1982 with an Apple ][+ and have never looked back. There’s something about the company even today that I find fascinating. Now that Apple is a trillion dollar company it has its problems and foibles but at the core it’s still the company it was in the early days. In my now 38 years on the bandwagon I have been treated well by Apple in both purchases and repairs. They fixed my late 2013 27”  iMac when the spring assembly holding the head up broke, long out of warranty, at no charge, with apologies. They fixed my water cooled G5, also at no charge. And they replaced my Power Mac 8100 immediately when the power supply failed, no questions asked. 
    Same here. They replaced the logic board and fan in my G5 iMac. A year out of AppleCare warranty. No questions asked. Had an iPod where the hard drive died. Out of warranty. They replaced it. Never had a problem with their service.
    ronncapt. obviouswatto_cobraBeatsmwhitejony0argonauth2p
  • Reply 10 of 29
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,251member
    benji888 said:
    It was Apple Computer Inc. until iPod and music became popular, then, sometime before the iPhone it became Apple corporation and they changed the logo from rainbow to solid, they dropped Computer from the name when marketing focus moved off computers. ...the article refers to Apple corporation when it was Apple Computer Inc.
    It does, but it remains the same corporate entity, despite a name change. 
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 29
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,251member

    lkrupp said:
    I hitched a ride on Apple’s bandwagon in 1982 with an Apple ][+ and have never looked back. There’s something about the company even today that I find fascinating. Now that Apple is a trillion dollar company it has its problems and foibles but at the core it’s still the company it was in the early days. In my now 38 years on the bandwagon I have been treated well by Apple in both purchases and repairs. They fixed my late 2013 27”  iMac when the spring assembly holding the head up broke, long out of warranty, at no charge, with apologies. They fixed my water cooled G5, also at no charge. And they replaced my Power Mac 8100 immediately when the power supply failed, no questions asked. 
    Damn, how do you get them to do work for free?
  • Reply 12 of 29
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    only 44 years?! Apple has changed the world so drastically it feels like they've been around much longer than that.
    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,161member
    Rayz2016 said:
    lkrupp said:
    I hitched a ride on Apple’s bandwagon in 1982 with an Apple ][+ and have never looked back. There’s something about the company even today that I find fascinating. Now that Apple is a trillion dollar company it has its problems and foibles but at the core it’s still the company it was in the early days. In my now 38 years on the bandwagon I have been treated well by Apple in both purchases and repairs. They fixed my late 2013 27”  iMac when the spring assembly holding the head up broke, long out of warranty, at no charge, with apologies. They fixed my water cooled G5, also at no charge. And they replaced my Power Mac 8100 immediately when the power supply failed, no questions asked. 
    You're clearly one of a kind.

    If you ask people around here, walking into an Apple Store is just asking to have your dog shot.
    That’s because ‘people around here’ march into an Apple Store with a chip on their shoulder, an arrogant know-it-all attitude, a hair trigger temper, and a feeling they can berate and abuse the poor rep at will, and  demand to be waited on hand-and-foot immediately. 

    In the case of my Late 2013 27” iMac I brought it into my local Apple Store and patiently waited to be helped. I explained the situation and asked if there a repair program for the problem. The rep checked, said no there wasn’t, and there would be a $175 charge. I didn’t fly into a rage, didn’t curse, didn’t berate the rep  and tell them this was a known issue and thousands of iMac users were affected according to Google and they better not charge me a penney. I simply said okay, fix it. Two days later they called, said my iMac was ready, and there would no charge for the repair.


    ronncapt. obviouswatto_cobrajony0argonauthammeroftruthcgWerksdanoxbloggerblogDetnator
  • Reply 14 of 29
    jony0jony0 Posts: 368member
    I started in 1981 with an Apple ][+ 48K, 143K disk drive, Centronics printer and Zenith green screen and PFS software for 4500 $ CDN. That money could still get you a decent car back then, crazy. I added an aftermarket 16K memory card, an 80 character video card, a Z80 processor card for Pascal. Two years after that I bought an Alpha Syntauri synthesizer that combined a custom boxed keyboard (from Korg) and Mountain Computer synthesizer (2 boards) with light pen. All the slots were full (including disk controller & printer interface cards) and it required one of those fans that hooked over the grill on the side of the case. Then the year after that the Mac came out, oh well, gotta start over.
    I have also been well treated in repairs. They replaced a Time Capsule 2 years out of warranty among other great Customer Service over the years. It's a great company.
    capt. obviouswatto_cobraargonautcgWerksDetnatorh2p
  • Reply 15 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,161member
    Rayz2016 said:
    lkrupp said:
    I hitched a ride on Apple’s bandwagon in 1982 with an Apple ][+ and have never looked back. There’s something about the company even today that I find fascinating. Now that Apple is a trillion dollar company it has its problems and foibles but at the core it’s still the company it was in the early days. In my now 38 years on the bandwagon I have been treated well by Apple in both purchases and repairs. They fixed my late 2013 27”  iMac when the spring assembly holding the head up broke, long out of warranty, at no charge, with apologies. They fixed my water cooled G5, also at no charge. And they replaced my Power Mac 8100 immediately when the power supply failed, no questions asked. 
    You're clearly one of a kind.

    If you ask people around here, walking into an Apple Store is just asking to have your dog shot.
    Again, those types walk into an Apple Store thinking they’re better than anyone in there, that they know more than the people trying to help them, and pre-triggered to explode with rage when they don't get what they want. I know the type. I spent the first five years of my career at AT&T in the public business office dealing with that type of personality. It became a game to see how we could screw the pricks over. On the other hand we would bend over backwards to help someone who had a real problem but were decent human beings. 
    ronncapt. obviouswatto_cobraBeatsjony0argonautDetnatorFileMakerFellerh2p
  • Reply 16 of 29
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    I noticed this was a reposted article after reading my own comment. Haha.  I was about to repost last years comment!! I don’t remember posting that but here’s what I was gonna post today anyway:

    45 years?!! Apple has changed the world so much it seems more like 60!
    MustSeeUHDTVjony0argonauth2p
  • Reply 17 of 29
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    lkrupp said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    lkrupp said:
    I hitched a ride on Apple’s bandwagon in 1982 with an Apple ][+ and have never looked back. There’s something about the company even today that I find fascinating. Now that Apple is a trillion dollar company it has its problems and foibles but at the core it’s still the company it was in the early days. In my now 38 years on the bandwagon I have been treated well by Apple in both purchases and repairs. They fixed my late 2013 27”  iMac when the spring assembly holding the head up broke, long out of warranty, at no charge, with apologies. They fixed my water cooled G5, also at no charge. And they replaced my Power Mac 8100 immediately when the power supply failed, no questions asked. 
    You're clearly one of a kind.

    If you ask people around here, walking into an Apple Store is just asking to have your dog shot.
    That’s because ‘people around here’ march into an Apple Store with a chip on their shoulder, an arrogant know-it-all attitude, a hair trigger temper, and a feeling they can berate and abuse the poor rep at will, and  demand to be waited on hand-and-foot immediately. 

    In the case of my Late 2013 27” iMac I brought it into my local Apple Store and patiently waited to be helped. I explained the situation and asked if there a repair program for the problem. The rep checked, said no there wasn’t, and there would be a $175 charge. I didn’t fly into a rage, didn’t curse, didn’t berate the rep  and tell them this was a known issue and thousands of iMac users were affected according to Google and they better not charge me a penney. I simply said okay, fix it. Two days later they called, said my iMac was ready, and there would no charge for the repair.


    To add to your original post, Apple is my go-to repair shop as they often have replaced, no questions asked.

    When i first got an iPod touch I broke the screen and took it to Apple and they replaced it, no questions asked. Didn’t even ask if it was under warranty or anything just gave me a working refurb that looked like new.

    Apple has also upgraded all my HD movies to 4K for free, saving me thousands of dollars. So much for “greedy” Apple.

    But with YouTube, Twitter and other social media, you now have morons making up stories about Apple’s (#1 in customer satisfaction) service. These are morons who own knockoffs and don’t even own Apple products but the internet has given them freedom to make crap up.
    jony0argonauth2p
  • Reply 18 of 29
    Definitely brings back fond, fond memories! I distinctly remember the first time I got my Apple IIE n the early 1980s. What a pleasure to use. Then, getting those infamous expansion cards, and the Apple DouDisk (ie, had two slots for 5 1/4" disks). In 1984, the place I was working at (a bank) received a shipment of the original Macintosh machine. I got to play with it while at work, and at that time, at least to me, it was OK. But I could not wait to get home and use my IIE. IN 1987 or thereabouts, I upgraded to an Apple IIGS, and that venerable machine lasted me a long, long time, until 1996, when I moved to my first Mac. Been on Macs ever since.
    ronnargonaut
  • Reply 19 of 29

    As an Apple customer from 2005 the few repairs I have had (apart from 2 iPhone batteries 5 years old) - all have been out of warranty and free.

    jony0argonaut
  • Reply 20 of 29
    ApplePoorApplePoor Posts: 179member
    Started with a IIsi with 13" Apple color monitor for the wife in 1990. It was the first computer and monitor that worked out of the box with no issues. I said, at the time, they have something here.

    Have continued to purchase Apple gear ever since. The product line today is like some ice cream shops with a flavor of everyone...

    There have been glitches along the way, but basically everything has worked with custom memory, drives and interface cards over the years.

    No way to tinker today, but that is not all bad. It means one commits at initial purchase to a fully loaded machine that is guaranteed to work with no trial and error on my part.

    My 1990 IIfx fully loaded system was more expensive (face value on the dollars) than the new Mac Studio with the Apple monitor.
    edited April 1 h2p
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