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How Apple became the most valuable brand in the world – a corporate history

Starting in a small garage in 1976 in California’s Silicon Valley, the company worked its way to the top. The way there, however, is more like a roller coaster ride. Well, after 45 years of company existence, greetings from the stock exchange summit.

Besides Microsoft , hardly any other company has revolutionised modern communication and information technology as sustainably as Apple . Behind this giant is the life’s work of the brilliant minds Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who over the years – despite many setbacks – were able to defy all competitors. Despite the brief separation, the success story of today’s group is closely linked to the two.

Upstart from a garage

On April 1, 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne founded Apple. In order to be able to raise the necessary starting chapter, Steve Wozniak sold his programmable pocket calculator and Steve Jobs sold his WV Bulli. The three started in the garage of Steve Jobs parents in Los Altos, where they screwed together their first computers. However, Ronald Wayne left the company only a few weeks after it was founded because he did not want to bear the personal liability risk. Mike Markkula took his place and brought the necessary capital into the company. Apple became a corporation, the three each receiving 26 percent of the shares. The rest should be used to attract investors. Apple went public on December 12, 1980, at a cost of $ 22 per share.

Without jobs, failure comes

The words that Steve Jobs used to woo the well-known PepsiCo manager John Sculley in 1983 are now legendary: “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to take the chance and change the world?” A move that became Apple’s undoing. A power struggle arose between the two. Although the Macintosh developed by Steve Jobs was an absolute success, it could not win the power struggle. Jobs got out in 1985 and sold his shares. A short time later he founded the computer and software company NeXT and bought the animation film studio Pixar.
11 years after Jobs left, Apple’s future looked anything but bright. In 1996 the company posted an annual loss of one billion dollars and the stock market price fell from 70 dollars to 14 dollars. The introduction of “Windows 95” almost completely drove the company out of the market. One was inevitably heading for bankruptcy and was forced to act. For example, Apple bought the NeXTStep / OPENSTEP operating system from Steve Jobs in 1996 under the leadership of the then boss Gilbert Amelio and only brought it back as a consultant before he became managing director himself the following year.

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The success story takes its course

The turning point came with Steve Jobs. Innovations like the iPod and iTunes not only brought a lot of movement into the music market, but also helped Apple to return to the black. The real masterpiece, however, followed in 2007. In a keynote that has never been forgotten, Steve Jobs presented the very first iPhone. The iPhone almost completely turned the cell phone industry on its head, and even revolutionised the entire cell phone market. With 1.6 billion devices sold and one trillion dollars in sales to date, the iPhone is the most successful product of all time. Sales and profits of Apple’s smartphones move in spheres that seem out of reach for competitors. In 2010 the company entered the tablet computer market with the introduction of the iPad. Also with other product lines such as the AirPods – the Apple headphones or the Apple watches, the smartwatches from Apple, the company generates billions in sales every year. The hobbyhorse is and will remain the iPhone.
In October 2011, Steve Jobs died of complications from cancer. In his place as Apple boss, Tim Cook, who started his professional career at the iCompany back in 1998, when he was personally poached by Jobs. To this day he is the head of the tech giant. In January 2021, Apple shares reached an all-time high despite the Corona crisis. The company is now worth over $ 2 trillion on the stock exchange.

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