The Three Eras At Apple

The Jobs Era

Steve Jobs had a co-founder--Stephen Wozniak--and the venture capitalists who backed the company in 1977 immediately installed professional management. But Jobs dominated. Often brilliant, sometimes exasperatingly flaky, he imprinted Apple Computer with his distinctive, hip personality. By 1980, the company was the leading PC maker: It went public with the hottest IPO of the time, raising $96.8 million. There were fumbles, too: The Apple III office computer was a bug-infested flop. And Lisa, precursor to the Mac, was an expensive dud. Jobs's masterpiece, however, the 1984 Mac, was a stunner--with groundbreaking, easy-to-use software and a cool design. It was also severely underpowered and limited in expandability. The market balked, and in May, 1985, Jobs was pushed out of daily operations.

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