How Steve Jobs Saved Apple

It might seem unthinkable today but around two decades ago the concept of personal computers was very new, and people used to listen to their favorite tunes on their Walkman, at this moment Steve Jobs was cast out of the Apple. 1985 is the year that Microsoft and IBM were dominating the world of computing. And just a year earlier there was the launch of Macintosh, one that appeared to be foundering. And at the time Jobs was the force that was behind Apple, which seemed not just to be expandable but also a threat to the company he had already built.

In 1989, West Eden who was a national bestseller was able to publish a piece that tells us how it went down. The piece has been written as a two-part essay, and part two it first excerpted from its introduction to the new edition in the year 2009. The contributing author, Frank Rose went ahead to explain how Jobs could be the fall guy in one decade and the next decade be the company savior.

The year 1997 seemed to be a prosperous year for Jobs. He had bought Pixar a decade ago, a small company that was focusing on animation. In 1995 is when the company had just received the second highest grossing film with the famous Toy Story in only the first release. The next year Apple bought NeXT, which is a computer startup that he had founded right after John Sculley showed him the door, but soon after he was brought back as a special advisor of the company.

When the latest CEO resigned, and no one was left that could challenge him; he assumed the power of the company. The very first thing he did was negotiate a truce with one of Apple’s nemesis, Microsoft. For Microsoft to just agree to allow Apple to stay alive in the market, they bought $150 million in the non-voting stock and continued in the production of its important office software that could be used for Macintosh. Jobs even went ahead to reconstitute the board, and from here he was able to bring in various industry professionals. Such as Bill Campbell the Intuit CEO, and the CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison. But this was not all as the next few months the company underwent several changes.

The number of product lines within the company was reduced from having 15 to just 4. The retail channel of the company was also streamlined. The company had been selling through competing channels which seemed to be a misguided drive just for the shelf space; instead, the sales got unified. It was achieved using an exclusive national dealer. During Jobs’ exile he was able to pick up a few experiences along the way, this is from running Pixar and NeXT that he was able to acquire on his own.  

You can’t have a candid look at Apple success without bearing in mind the input of Steve Jobs. Here is a snapshot to the life of a genius behind Apple’s present-day innovations and subsequent contemporary technologies. This chapter looks at Steve jobs career, the Apple story, and an inspiring journey for prospective entrepreneurs and inventors.

Born in San Francisco, Steve Paul Jobs was an American entrepreneur, inventor, and designer. At the age of 21 in 1976, he and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computers. Initial funding came from Job selling his Volkswagen and Wozniak selling his cherished scientific calculator. The two are credited for inventing technologies that made machines smaller, affordable, and widely accessible to the daily consumer. Wozniak came up with a series of user-friendly personal computers while Jobs took over the marketing role. The company could sell each Apple computer for $666.66. This single invention saw the company earn about $774,000 in revenue. 3 years down the line, the release of Apple II model boosted company sales revenues by a whopping 700% to $139 million.

Apple computer became publicly traded in 1980, with a market share valuation of $1.7 Billion by the close of trading on the first day. Jobs sought Pepsi-Cola marketing expert John Sculley to take over as CEO for Apple. This could be followed by product design flaws that resulted in recalls and consumer displeasure. IBM surpassed Apple in sales and this later saw market competition for domination between the two ensue. To counter the tide, in 1984, Steve Jobs and team helped release the Macintosh computer. This product revolutionized lifestyles at the time for its functionality, style, and creative look.

However, despite a hike in sales, this invention was still not at par with IBM’s. Feeling Jobs was hurting the growth of the company, CEO Sculley sought his demotion which saw Steve Jobs leave Apple in 1985. Jobs purchase Pixar Animation Studios from George Lucas in 1986 at an investment of $5 million which was called Graphics Group at the time. The studio merged with Walt Disney in 2006 with Steve as the main shareholder. Jobs began a new hardware and software, NeXT Inc.  The company was later bought by Apple in 1996 for $429 million, marking a turning point for Apple reinvention.

Steve returned to Apple as CEO in 1997. He set up a vibrant management team, self-imposed his annual salary at $1 million a year, and put Apple back on track. Apple embarked on an aggressive and stylish product designs that won consumer confidence once more. These technologies included the iPod, MacBook Air, iMac, and iPhone, a momentous time that saw competitors start inventing comparable products. By 2007, Apple quarterly reports recorded $199.99 in stock value, $1.58 billion profit with $18 billion in a surplus and no debt.

Fueled by record iTunes, iPhone, and iPod sales, Apple was ranked No.1 as “America’s Most Admired Companies,” and Fortune 500 companies for returns by Fortune magazine. January 2011 would remain in the annals of history; this time Steve Jobs sought a medical leave from Apple. Seemingly a normal practice, he shocked many on August the same year when he resigned as CEO of Apple, handing over control to Tim Cook. Yet, many didn’t know this could be his last journey in the company.

Steve Jobs would later succumb to death on October 5, 2011, at the age of 56 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. It is not possible to sum up Steve Job’s career in a single chapter. Nonetheless, the world will forever be indebted to a genius who inspired creativity and changed lives beyond himself. A few lessons stick out. Innovative products require effective marketing to sell and success comes with hard work.  Such an entrepreneurial spirit can only be for something bigger and better. 

Apple’s destiny changed after the release of what was termed as a simple digital music year a decade ago. In October of 2001, Apple created the iPod. It packed music in a 5GB white box that looked like stacked cards. Unlike the reputation that it got, Apple had decided to unveil the gadget in Cupertico Campus in a low-key event. The unveiling of the Apple gadget was met with skepticism by both fans and the media.

Many people did not foresee any success story in the newly launched music player. Contrary to the expectation of many, iPod became a successful enterprise in the market in 2004. As much as the iPod is linked to Steve Jobs, no single person can get credit to produce an iPod. A team of experts working at Apple came together to develop the new music player. In 1999, Apple started the digital music connection. Steve Jobs discovered that there was much potential in the dormant lying Apple- invented technology; Fire Wire. Its serial bus standard facilitated quicker transmission of data unlike similar time standards.

Apple found out that Fire Wire would enable Mac users to transfer their videos easily with their camcorders and edit the videos on their computers. Steve Jobs decided that the next batch of iMacs would have Firewire ports. Apple asked Adobe Company to create a simple, consumer friendly, movie editing application. However, Adobe declined the offer. Apple decided to create iMovie and featured the hub as the center of the digital strategy. Apple became a major player in the ever-expanding digital media universe. In the Late 1990s, the digital music system became news.

Despite the illegality in the transfer of music, Apple had perceived the MP3s files downloadable in the music system were the next great thing in the music world. In 2001, Apple created iTunes. It enabled the users to transfer music from the iTunes to portable Mp3s gadgets. There was a problem. iPod was launched to deal with the problem that iTunes presented to the users. the iPod was made to facilitate the transfer of music as well as providing a digital portable item that would facilitate music.

Apple contracted Fadell with Stan, to come up with the innovative design for the music player. Fadell studied the kind of gadgets that Apple competitors had in the market. He came up with three distinct prototypes that could possibly become the iPod. During a meeting with the board, Fadell presented the first prototype which had short memory. He also presented the second prototype with removable storage. Jobs liked the third prototype that was hidden during the meeting. Fadell’s contract had expired at Apple. Jobs hired him so that he could continue working on the iPod project. Fadell aimed at competitor’s weakness in making the perfect iPod for Apple. In April 2001, the project kicked off.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Steve Jobs 

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