05/12/2021

070 – Design-led PCs – 1984

Forward to PC Moments 071
Back to PC Moments 069 – Back to PC Moments Index
Back to Anecdotes

It appears IBM wants it all.  Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. 
Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs dropped out of college and enjoyed the West Coast culture – living in communes, travelling to India, experimenting with LSD, practicising Zen Buddhism…

He met Steve Wozniak in 1971 and talked him into selling products; previously Wozniak had made them for his own entertainment.  Wozniak designed the Apple I, Jobs proposed they build and sell them and together they founded Apple Computer.

Wozniak was twenty, Jobs twenty-one, neither took a salary.   Two high school kids, Chris Espinosa and Randy Wigginton, worked in the Jobs family garage where they produced two hundred Apple Is.

Jobs and Wozniak met Mike Markkula, ex-Fairchild and Intel, who was making a personal fortune by selling his stock options; he retired by the age of thirty-two.  Markkula provided $250k to fund 1,000 Apple IIs.  He created its first business plan, with the aim to become a Fortune 500 company.

Apple II was designed by Wozniak; Jobs pressed for it to be a home appliance, a ready-to-use computer, and he hired Jerry Manock to create its sleek look, rather like a calculator or typewriter.

Jobs appointed The McKenna Agency whose young art director, Rob Janoff, created the apple silhouette with a bite taken out.  Its six-stripe rainbow highlighted that Apple II was the first PC with colour.

This all meant that the Apple II stood out at its launch in April 1977. 

t achieved sales of over $750k in 1977 and the next year, thanks to its being sold with VisiCalc, the annual sales grew to $8m.

1979 – Jef Raskin prompted Jobs, Wozniak and others from the Apple team to visit Xerox PARC to consider its developments.  Jobs offered PARC an option on 100,000 Apple shares at the pre-IPO price of $10/share in return for three days’ access to PARC thinking and products.  Apple Lisa and Macintosh were shaped by this.

1980 – Apple responded to the IBM-PC by creating Apple III as a business computer; it was the first Apple computer not designed by Wozniak.  Management and marketing had taken over from dreaming and designing; total sales were only 65,000 units.

December 1980 – Apple’s IPO saw its $14 shares open at $22 and close at $29, valuing the company at $1.8bn, generating the most capital since the Ford Motor Company many years earlier.  By 1983 Markkula’s prediction was realised, Apple 411th of the Fortune 500.

Apple said the acronym Lisa stood for Local Integrated Software Architecture, but Steve Jobs’ first daughter Lisa was also born that year.  Jobs who ran the project proved a difficult person with whom to work.  John Couch, ex-HP engineer had joined to work for Jobs, took over.

The Lisa, adopting PARC concepts, became more expansive.  But like PARC products it also became too expensive and less market-driven.  Progressively Jobs edged Jef Raskin from the Lisa team.

The displaced Raskin presented an easy-to-use, less-expensive PC idea to Markkula and got the go-ahead for what he named Macintosh, after his favourite apple.  Steve Jobs was a vocal critic calling the project a stupid idea. 

When Markkula took over as president he removed Jobs from the Lisa project.  Jobs soon decided that the Mac should therefore benefit from his PARC epiphany.

Forward to PC Moments 071
Back to PC Moments 069 – Back to PC Moments Index
Back to Anecdotes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *