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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The History of the Apple Macintosh


The History of the Apple Macintosh

In December, 1983, Apple Computers ran its' famous "1984" Macintosh television commercial, on a small unknown station solely to make the commercial eligible for awards during 1984. The commercial cost 1.5 million and only ran once in 1983, but news and talk shows everywhere replayed it, making TV history. The next month, Apple Computer ran the same ad during the NFL Super Bowl, and millions of viewers saw their first glimpse of the Macintosh computer. The commercial was directed by Ridley Scott, and the Orwellian scene depicted the IBM world being destroyed by a new machine, the "Macintosh".
Could we expect anything less from a company that was now being run by the former president of Pepsi-Cola. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers had been trying to hire Pepsi's John Sculley since early 1983. In April of that year he succeeded. But Steve and John discovered that they did not get along and one of John Sculley's first actions as CEO of Apple was to boot Steve Jobs off the Apple "Lisa" project, the "Lisa" was the first consumer computer with a graphical user interface or GUI. Jobs then switched over to managing the Apple "Macintosh" project begun by Jeff Raskin. Jobs was determined that the new "Macintosh" was going to have a graphical user interface, like the "Lisa" but at a considerably lower cost.

Note: The early Mac team members (1979) consisted of Jeff Raskin, Brian Howard, Marc LeBrun, Burrell Smith. Joanna Hoffman and Bud Tribble. Others began working working on the Mac at later dates
Seventy-four days after the introduction of the "Macintosh", 50,000 units had been sold, not that strong a show. Apple refused to license the OS or the hardware, the 128k memory was not enough and a single floppy was difficult to use. The "Macintosh" had "Lisa's" user friendly GUI, but initially missed some of the more powerful features of the "Lisa" like multitasking and the 1 MB of memory. Jobs compensated by making sure developers created software for the new "Macintosh", Jobs figured that software was the way to win the consumer over.

In 1985, the "Macintosh" computer line received a big sales boost with the introduction of the LaserWriter printer and Aldus PageMaker, home desktop publishing was now possible. But 1985 was also the year when the original founders of Apple left the company.

Steve Wozniak returned to college and Steve Jobs was fired, his difficulties with John Sculley coming to a head. Jobs had decided, to regain control of the company away from Sculley, he scheduled a business meeting in China for Sculley and planned for a corporate take-over, when Sculley would be absent. Information about Jobs' true motives, reached Sculley before the China trip, he confronted Jobs and asked Apple's Board of Directors to vote on the issue. Cveryone voted for Sculley and Jobs quit, in lieu of being fired. Jobs later rejoined Apple in 1996 and has happily worked there ever since. Sculley was eventually replaced as CEO of Apple.
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