The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Apple Computer

Apple Computer, Inc. is a Silicon Valley company based in Cupertino, California, whose core business is computer technologies. Apple helped start the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with its Apple II and shaped it in the 1980s and since with the Macintosh. Apple is known for innovative software and hardware, such as the iMac; its iPod digital music player; and the iTunes Music Store.

Apple corporate mission: To make the power of computing available and accessible to everyone.



Before he co-founded Apple, Steve Wozniak was an electronics hacker. By 1975, he was working at Hewlett-Packard and helping his friend Steve Jobs design video games for Atari. Wozniak had been buying computer time on a variety of minicomputers hosted by Call Computer, a timesharing firm run by Alex Kamradt . The computer terminals available at that time were primarily paper-based; thermal printers like the Texas Instruments Silent 700 were the state of the art. Wozniak had seen a 1975 issue of Popular Electronics magazine on how to build your own computer terminal. Using off-the-shelf parts, Wozniak designed the Computer Conversor, a 24-line by 40-column, uppercase-only video teletype that he could use to log on to the minicomputers at Call Computer. Alex Kamradt commissioned the design and sold a small number of them through his firm.

In 1975, Wozniak started attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club. New microcomputers such as the Altair 8800 and the IMSAI inspired him to build a microprocessor into his video teletype and have a complete computer.

At the time the only microcomputer CPUs generally available were the $179 Intel 8080, and the $170 Motorola 6800. Wozniak preferred the 6800, but both were out of his price range. So he watched, and learned, and designed computers on paper, waiting for the day he could afford a CPU.

When MOS Technology released its $20 6502 chip in 1976, Wozniak wrote a version of BASIC for it, then began to design a computer for it to run on. The 6502 was designed by the same people who designed the 6800, as many in Silicon Valley left employers to form their own companies. Wozniak's earlier 6800 paper-computer needed only minor changes to run on the new chip.

Wozniak completed the machine and took it to Homebrew Computer Club meetings to show it off. At the meeting, Wozniak met his old friend Jobs, who was interested in the commercial potential of the small hobby machines.

Early years

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak ("the two Steves") had been friends for some time, having met in 1971, when a mutual friend introduced 21-year-old Wozniak to 16-year-old Jobs. Jobs managed to interest Wozniak in assembling a machine and selling it.

Jobs approached a local computer store, The Byte Shop, who said they would be interested in the machine, but only if it came fully assembled. The owner, Paul Terrell, went further, saying he would order 50 of the machines and pay $500 each on delivery. Jobs then took the purchase order that he had been given from the Byte Shop to Cramer Electronics, a national electronic parts distributor, and ordered the components he needed to assemble the Apple 1 Computer. The local credit manager asked Jobs how he was going to pay for the parts and he replied, " I have this purchase order from the Byte Shop chain of computer stores for 50 of my computers and the payment terms are COD. If you give me the parts on a net 30 day terms I can build the computers in that time frame deliver and collect my money from Terrell at the Byte Shop and pay you." With that, the credit manager called Paul Terrell who was attending an IEEE computer conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove and verified the validity of the Purchase Order. Amazed at the tenacity of Jobs, Terrell assured the credit manager if the computers showed up in his stores Jobs would be paid and would have more than enough money to pay for the parts order. The two Steves and their small crew spent day and night building and testing the computers and delivered to Terrell on time to pay his suppliers and have a tidy profit left over for their celebration and next order. Steve Jobs had found a way to finance his company without giving away one share of stock or ownership and leveraged that into a multi million dollar company.

The machine had only a few notable features. One was the use of a TV as the display system, whereas many machines had no display at all. This was not like the displays of later machines however, and displayed text at a terribly slow 60 characters per second. This machine, the Apple I also included bootstrap code on ROM, which made it easier to start up. Finally, at the insistence of Paul Terrell, Wozniak also designed a cassette interface for loading and saving programs, at the then-rapid pace of 1200 bit/s. Although the machine was fairly simple, it was nevertheless a masterpiece of design, using far fewer parts than anything in its class, and quickly earning Wozniak a reputation as a master designer.

Joined by another friend, Ronald Wayne, the three started to build the machines. Using a variety of methods, including borrowing space from friends and family, selling various prized items (like calculators and a VW bus), scrounging, white lies (or petty fraud, depending on your point of view), Jobs managed to secure the parts needed while Wozniak and Wayne assembled them. They were delivered in June, and as promised, they were paid on delivery. Eventually 200 of the Apple I's were built.

But Wozniak had already moved on from the Apple I. Many of the design features of the I were due to the limited amount of money they had to construct the prototype, but with the income from the sales he was able to start construction of a very much upgraded machine, the Apple II; it was presented to the public at the first West Coast Computer Faire on April 16 and 17, 1977. On the first day of exhibition, Jobs introduced Apple II to a Japanese textile technician named 水島敏雄 (Mizushima Satoshi) who became the first authorized Apple dealer in Japan.[1]

The main difference internally was a completely redesigned TV interface, which held the display in memory. Now not only useful for simple text display, the Apple II included graphics, and, eventually, color. Jobs meanwhile pressed for a much improved case and keyboard, with the idea that the machine should be complete and ready to run out of the box. This was almost the case for the Apple I machines sold to The Byte Shop, but one still needed to plug various parts together and type in the code to run BASIC.

Building such a machine was going to cost a lot more money. Jobs started looking for cash, but Wayne was somewhat gun shy due to a failed venture four years earlier, and eventually dropped out of the company. Banks were reluctant to loan Jobs money; the idea of a computer for ordinary people seemed absurd at the time. Jobs eventually met "Mike" Markkula who co-signed a bank loan for $250,000, and the three formed Apple Computer on April 1, 1976.

With both cash and a new case design in hand, the Apple II was released in 1977 and became the computer generally credited with creating the home computer market. Millions were sold well into the 1980s. When Apple went public in 1980, they generated more money than any IPO since Ford Motor Company in 1956, and instantly created more millionaires than any company in history.

A number of different models of the Apple II family were built, including the Apple IIe and Apple IIgs, which could still be found in many schools as late as the end of the 1990s.

Apple III and Lisa

By the '80s Apple faced emerging competition in the personal computing business. Chief among them was IBM, the first "big name" in computing. IBM's PC model, running DOS (short for "disk operating system", and licensed to IBM by Microsoft) was capturing a large share of the emerging desktop computing market in large companies.

Several smaller businesses were using the Apple II, but the company felt it needed a newer, more advanced model to compete in the corporate desktop computing market. Thus, the designers of the Apple III were forced to comply with Jobs' lofty and sometimes impractical goals (a continuing theme through Apple's history). Among these was the omission of a cooling fan - it is reported Jobs found them "inelegant." Due to this design flaw and production flaws many of these machines were dead on arrival or succumbed to overheating. Thousands were recalled and replaced with no questions asked. The Apple III was also expensive and, though the company introduced an updated version in 1983, the initial bad press discouraged buyers and left the III largely a failure.

Meanwhile various groups within Apple were working on a completely new kind of personal computer, with advanced technologies such as a graphical user interface, computer mouse, object-oriented programming and networking capabilities. These people, including Jef Raskin and Bill Atkinson, agitated for Steve Jobs to put the company's focus behind such computers.

It was only when they brought him to see the work being done at Xerox PARC on the Alto in December 1979 that Jobs decided the future was in such graphics-intensive, icon-friendly computers, and supported the competing Apple Lisa and Apple Macintosh teams. Over the objections of some PARC researchers, many of whom (such as Larry Tesler) ended up working at Apple, Xerox granted Apple engineers 3 days of access to the PARC facilities in return for selling them one million dollars in pre-IPO Apple stock (approximately $18mil. net). The Lisa debuted in January 1983 at $10,000. Once again, Apple had introduced a product that was ahead of its time, but far too expensive (the company would continue to follow this pattern for the next few years), and Apple again failed to capture the business market. The Lisa was discontinued with the unceremonious burial of the remaining inventory at a landfill in Logan, UT 1986.

The Macintosh

The Lisa project was removed from Jobs' control midway through development to prevent another Apple III incident and Jobs soon turned his attention to the Macintosh Project. The Macintosh was originally envisioned by Jef Raskin as a truly personal computer with everything the end-used would ever need built right in. It was a research project at the time Jobs came along in the very early development stages. Being somewhat upset about the exile from Lisa he set out to mold the Macintosh into a device that would surpass Lisa. This was a time at Apple where different projects like Lisa and Macintosh were discrete departments which were somewhat self-contained in all aspects. A serious flaw which created hostilities and unrest within the company.

The Apple Macintosh was launched in 1984 with a now famous Super Bowl advertisement based on George Orwell's novel 1984, declaring, "On January 24, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like '1984'" — the obvious implication being that the Mac's new, "user friendly" GUI would liberate computing and information from an elite of large corporations and technocrats. Macintosh also spawned the concept of Mac evangelism which was pioneered by Apple employee, and later Apple Fellow, Guy Kawasaki.

In anticipation of the Macintosh launch, Bill Gates, co-founder, chairman of Microsoft was given several Macintosh prototypes in 1983 for software development for the new computer. In 1985, Microsoft launched Microsoft Windows, its own GUI for IBM PCs using many of the elements of the Macintosh OS. This led to a long legal battle between Apple Computers and Microsoft, ending with an out of court settlement. In this settlement it was stated that Microsoft would be granted access to and allowed unlimited use of the Macintosh GUI. By that point the IBM PC system had been reverse engineered and many companies were also making IBM PC Compatibles, cheaper copies of the PC. Although the first version of Windows was technologically inferior to the Mac, a Windows-equipped PC clone could be purchased for much less. Also, because of the open nature of the PC platform there was always more software available for Windows.

Despite early concerns about the system, such as lack of software, the monochrome-only display and the closed architecture, the Macintosh brand was eventually a success for Apple and continues to be to this day. Though there are some who argue that it might have been a bigger success. While it did briefly license some of its own designs, Apple did not allow other computer makers to "clone" the Mac until the 1990s, long after Microsoft dominated the marketplace with its broad licensing program. By then, it was too late for Apple to reclaim its lost marketshare and the Macintosh clones achieved limited success before being axed in 1997 and 1998.

Though Apple may never recover the broad consumer marketshare (as high as 29%) it had in the late 1970s, the Macintosh has become known as the de-facto platform for many industries including cinema, music, publishing and the arts.

1984 to 1997

The Macintosh, though a better product than the Apple II in many ways, did not quickly displace it in Apple's product line. They were separate, incompatible platforms, and Apple promoted them to different market segments: the Macintosh to colleges, college students, and knowledge workers, and the Apple II to homes and public schools. (In fact, John Gruber has theorized that this incompatibility was the main reason the Macintosh did not share the phenomenal success of the Apple II. [2]) A few months after introducing the Mac, Apple released a compact version of the Apple II called the Apple IIc. And in 1986 Apple introduced the Apple IIgs, a hybrid product with a mouse-driven, Mac-like operating environment. Apple II computers remained an important part of Apple's business, and were not discontinued until the early 1990s.

After the failed Macintosh Portable of 1989, which was too heavy to be honestly referred to as portable at all, Apple's much more popular laptop, the PowerBook, was introduced in 1991. The first of these was co-designed with Sony, and established the modern layout for laptop computers that has remained popular ever since, with a rear hinge supporting the screen, and a keyboard placed towards the back of the lower deck with a trackball (later trackpad) in front. The PowerBook brand suffered a blow when the PowerBook 5300 model suffered many quality problems, such as combusting lithium-ion batteries, easily chipped cases, and poor screens.

Products from Apple past & present also include operating systems such as ProDOS, Mac OS, Mac OS X, and A/UX, networking products such as AppleTalk, and multimedia programs like QuickTime and the Final Cut series. In 1994, Apple revamped its Macintosh line with the introduction of the Power Macintosh, which was based on the PowerPC line of processors developed by IBM, Motorola and Apple. These processors utilized RISC architecture, which differed substantially from the Motorola 680X0 series that preceded it. Apple's operating system software was adjusted so that most software written for the older processors could run in emulation on the PowerPC series.

After an internal power struggle with new CEO John Sculley in the 1980s, Jobs resigned from Apple and went on to found NeXT Inc. which ultimately failed after a promising start. Later on Apple, in an effort to save the company, bought up NeXT and its UNIX-based OS NeXTstep, and this move brought Jobs back to Apple's management. On July 9 1997, Gil Amelio stepped down as CEO of Apple after overseeing a 12 year record low stock price and crippling financial losses. Jobs stepped in as the iCEO (interim CEO) and began the critical restructuring of the company's product line.

1998 to present

One of Jobs's first acts as new acting CEO was to begin development of the iMac, which served two purposes. It bought Apple time to restructure and it was an all out financial success. The iMac has sold roughly one million units each year since its original introduction.

More recent products include AirPort and subsequent AirPort Extreme which uses Wireless LAN technology to connect computers to networks. The AirPort product series acted as a catalyst of sorts to help popularize the wireless networking architecture. There are also the iBook and Power Mac G4 computers.

In 2001, Apple introduced Mac OS X, an operating system based on NeXT's NeXTstep, that married the stability, reliability and security of Unix with the ease of use of the Macintosh interface in an OS targeted at professionals and consumers alike. Mac OS X enabled consumers to migrate to the new technologies while maintaining access to older applications written for the older Macintosh OS revisions. This capability was called the Classic Environment, which ran a copy of the last revision of their 16 year old operating system, Mac OS 9, within Mac OS X. Alternatively, Apple's Carbon API allowed developers of pre-Mac OS X software to adapt their software to take advantage of Mac OS X's features.

In early 2002, Apple unveiled a new iMac G4. It had a hemispherical base and a flat panel all-digital display supported by a swiveling neck. This model was discontinued in the summer of 2004. A new model based on the G5 processor was unveiled August 31, 2004 and was made available in mid-September. This model dispenses with the base altogether; placing the CPU and the rest of the computing hardware behind the flat-panel screen, which is suspended from a streamlined aluminium foot. This new iMac, dubbed the iMac G5, is the world's thinnest desktop computer, measuring in at around two inches (around 5.1 centimeters).

In 2002, Apple also released the XServe 1U rack mounted server. Originally featuring two G4 chips, the XServe was unusual for Apple in two ways. It represented an ernest effort to enter the enterprise computer market and it was also relatively cheaper than similar machines released by its competitors. This was due, in no small part, to Apple's use of Fast ATA drives as opposed to the SCSI hard drives used in traditional rack-mounted servers. Apple later released the XServe Raid, a 14 drive RAID array which was, again, cheaper than competing systems. This line was recently augmented with G5 chips. It is the keystone of the Virginia Tech System X supercomputer, which is currently ranked as the world's 7th fastest supercomputer.

In mid-2003, Apple launched the PowerMac G5, based on the G5 processor. This was the first 64-bit computer sold to the general public. It was also used by Virginia Tech to build its prototype supercomputer, which at the time garnered the prestigious recognition of 3rd fastest supercomputer in the world. It cost only $5.2 Mil (USD) to build, far less than the previous #3 and other ranking supercomputers, not to mention the fact that it used off-the-shelf equipment and OS.

Apple computers such as the PowerBook, and more recently the iBook and the iMac, are frequently featured as props in films and television series. Occassionally the heroes use Apple computers while the villains are relegated to PC compatibles. In 1996, Apple ran an advertising campaign for the PowerBook tying in with the film Mission: Impossible.

In addition to computers, Apple has also produced consumer devices. In the 1990s, Apple released the Newton, an early PDA. Though it failed commercially, it defined and lauched the category and was a forerunner and inspiration of devices such as Palm Pilot and its descendants-PocketPCs

Through the 1990s, personal computers based on Microsoft's Windows operating system began to gain a much larger percentage of new computer users than Apple. As a result, Apple fell from controlling 20% of the total personal computer market to 5% by the end of the decade. The company was struggling financially under then-CEO Gil Amelio when on August 6, 1997 Microsoft bought a $150 million non-voting share of the company as a result of a court settlement with Apple (Microsoft has since sold all Apple stock holdings). Perhaps more significantly, Microsoft simultaneously announced its continued support for Mac versions of its office suite, Microsoft Office, and soon created a Macintosh Business Unit. This reversed the earlier trend within Microsoft that resulted in poor Mac versions of their software and has resulted in several award-winning releases. However market share continued to decline, reaching 3% by 2004.

In May of 2001, after much speculation, Apple announced the opening of a line of Apple retail stores, to be located throughout the major U.S. computer buying markets. The stores were designed for two primary purposes: to stem the tide of Apple's declining share of the computer market, as well as a response to poor marketing of Apple products at third-party retail outlets.

Initially, the Apple Stores were opened in the U.S. only, but in late 2003, Apple opened its first Apple Store outside the USA, in Tokyo's Ginza district. Ginza was followed by a store in Osaka, Japan in August of 2004. More shops for Japan are supposedly in the works. Apple's first European store opened in London in November 2004. Stores in the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham and the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent are due to open in early 2005. Apple is opening its first store in Canada in the middle of 2005 at the Yorkdale Shopping Center in North York, a suburb of Toronto.

Also, in an effort to court a broader market, Apple opened several "mini" stores in October 2004 in attempt to capture markets where demand does not necessarily dictate a full scale store. These stores follow in the footsteps of the successful Apple products: iPod mini and Mac mini. These stores are only one half the square footage of the smallest "normal" store and thus can be placed in several smaller markets.

On April 12, 2005, Apple announced the release date of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", to be shipped on April 29, 2005.

iPod and iTunes Music Store

In October of 2001, Apple introduced the iPod, a portable digital music player. Its signature was the incredible amount of storage space, initially 5 GB, enough to hold approximately 1,000 songs, compared to the 20-30 songs of Flash-based players of the time. Apple has since revised its iPod line several times, introducing a slimmer, more compact design, Windows compatibility (previous iPods only interacted with Macintosh computers), AAC compatibility, storage sizes of up to 60 GB, and easier connectivity with car or home stereo systems. On October 26th, 2004, Apple released a color version of their award winning iPod which can not only play music but also show photos. As of November 2004, the iPod boasted a 87.3% market share among hard-drive based players, according to NPD Group.

Apple has revolutionized the computer and music industry by signing the five major record companies to join its new music download service, the successful iTunes Music Store. Unlike other fee-based music services, the iTunes Music Store charges a flat $0.99 per song (or $9.99 per album). Users have more flexiblility than on previous on-line music services. For example, they can burn CDs including the purchased songs (although a given playlist can be burned to CD a limited number of times), share and play the songs on up to 5 computers, and of course download songs onto an iPod.

The iTunes Music Store commercial model is one-time purchase, which contrasts with other commercial subscription music services where users are required to pay a regular fee to be able to access musical content (but are able to access a larger volume of music during the subscription). If these services begin to gain traction in the marketplace, it is arguable if Apple will not reshape the iTunes Music Store in some way to stay competitive.

The iTunes Music Store was launched in 2003 with 2 million downloads in only 16 days; all of which were purchased only on Macintosh computers. Apple has since released a version of iTunes for Windows, allowing Windows users the ability to access the store as well. In addition, Apple plans for a worldwide release for its music store; currently, it is only available to customers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and the Eurozone.

In January of 2004 Apple released a more compact version of their iPod player, the 4-GB iPod Mini. Although the Mini held fewer songs than the other iPod models at that time, its smaller size and multiple colours made it a difficult find on store shelves after its debut.

In June of 2004 Apple opened their iTunes Music Store in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. A European Union version opened October of 2004 (actually, a Eurozone version; not initially available in the Republic of Ireland due to the intransigence of the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) but eventually opened Thursday January 6, 2005). A version for Canada opened in December 2004. On December 16, 2004, Apple sold its 200 millionth song on the iTunes Music Store to Ryan Alekman from Belchertown, Massachusetts. The download was The Complete U2, by U2.

On 11 January 2005, an even smaller version of the iPod was announced, this one based on flash memory instead of using a miniaturized hard drive. The iPod shuffle, like its predecessors, proved so popular that it sold out almost immediately, causing delays of up to four weeks in obtaining one within a single week of its debut.

Apple recently reported earnings for the three months to March 26th 2005 of $290m on sales of $3.24bn. To illustrate their sucess just a year ago in the same quarter Apple earned just $46m, on revenue of $1.91bn.

Hardware currently made by Apple


  • Consumer Sub-Desktop Computer - Mac mini - Comes in two models. BYODKM (Bring your own display, keyboard, and mouse).
  • Consumer Desktop Computer - iMac - Currently the iMac G5 with 17" and 20" models
  • Consumer Portable Computer - iBook - Currently the iBook G4 with 12" and 14" models
  • Pro Desktop Computer - Power Mac G5 - Comes in four models
  • Pro Portable Computer - PowerBook G4 - Comes in 12", 15" and 17" models
  • Education Desktop Computer - eMac - Also sold to regular consumers and government employees
  • Servers - Xserve - Single Processor, Dual Processor, and Cluster Node

iPod Digital Music Players

  • iPod photo - Holds up to 15,000 Songs or 25,000 Photos in 2 models (30 & 60 GB)
  • iPod - Holds up to 5,000 Songs (20 GB)
  • iPod U2 Edition - Holds up to 5,000 songs in black and red with U2 band members' signatures engraved on back (20 GB)
  • iPod mini - Holds up to 1,500 songs in 2 models (4 & 6 GB) and 4 colors (silver, green, pink, blue)
  • iPod shuffle - Holds up to 240 songs in 2 models (512 MB & 1 GB)

Computer Accessories

See also: List of Macintosh models grouped by CPU

Software currently made by Apple

Operating systems

  • Mac OS X - The client operating system that Apple ships today
  • Mac OS X Server - The server operating system that Apple ships today

Pro applications

Consumer applications

  • iWork includes
    • Keynote, a professional presentation application
    • Pages, a word processing and page layout application


Server solutions

Note about Software

It should be noted that of these above applications, iTunes and the basic QuickTime player are available for both Macintosh and Microsoft Windows users as free downloads. AppleWorks 6 and QuickTime Pro are also both available for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows users, for a fee, though the former is available only through the online "Apple Store for Education." In addition, a version of QuickTime Streaming Server can be run on multiple computing platforms, and even Apple Darwin can run on computers using the x86 (or compatible) family of CPUs.

See also: List of Macintosh software

Hardware formerly made by Apple



Company Advertising Campaigns

  • "Soon there will be 2 kinds of people. Those who use computers, and those who use Apples." (Early 1980s)
  • "Changing the world — one person at a time" (mid-1980s)
  • "The computer for the rest of us" (1984)
  • "Leading The Way" (1984)
  • "The power to be your best" (1980s1990s)
  • "Think different" (19972002) The most famous advertising campaign in Apple's history
  • "Switch" (20022003) Hoping to capture PC users to "Switch" to the Mac platform

Product Advertising Slogans

  • iMac & iBook
    • "I think, therefore iMac." (1998) based on René Descartes famous line, "I think, therefore I am" (Cogito ergo sum).
    • "The iMac to Go." (1999) used to market the new iBooks.
    • "Where did the computer go?" (2004) used to market the new iMac G5
    • "From the creators of iPod." (2004) used to market the new iMac G5
    • "The most affordable Mac ever." (2004) used to market the new Mac mini.
  • PowerMac & PowerBook
    • "Two Brains are better than one" (2000) used to market new dual processor PowerMac G4s
    • "Less is more" (2003) used to market new PowerBook G4s
    • "The worlds fastest computer" (2003) used to market new PowerMac G5s, somewhat controversial
  • iPod & iTunes
    • "1000 songs in your pocket." (2001) used to promote the first generation iPod's large storage capacity and compact design
    • "Mini. The next big thing." (2004) used to market the iPod mini
    • "The best keeps getting better" (2004) used to market the iPod 4th generation
    • "10000 songs in your pocket." (2004) used to market the iPod 4th generation
    • "Life is random." (2005) used to market iPod shuffle.
    • "Give chance a chance." (2005) used to market iPod shuffle.
    • "Random is the new order." (2005) used to market iPod shuffle.
    • "Enjoy uncertainty." (2005) used to market iPod shuffle.
  • iTunes
    • "Rip. Mix. Burn." (2001) used to promote iTunes desktop CD burning capability, somewhat controversial
    • "Rock and Roll will never die. It is, however, being reborn." (2003) used to promote the iTunes Music Store
    • "The best Windows app ever." (2003) used to promote iTunes on Windows
    • "Welcome to the digital music revolution." (2004) used to promote iTunes
    • "Drink. Win. Play." (2005) used during the 2005 Pepsi-iTunes promotion.

Apple as a corporation

Trademark dispute with Apple Corps

In 1978 Apple Corps, i.e. The Beatles filed suit against Apple Computer for trademark infringement. The suit settled in 1981 with an undisclosed amount being paid to Apple Corps. This amount has been estimated to $50–$200 million, but was later revealed to be $80,000. As a condition of the settlement, Apple Computer agreed to stay out of the music business.

In 1986 Apple added MIDI and audio-recording capabilities to its computers, and in 1989 Apple Corps sued again, claiming violation of the 1981 settlement agreement. In 1991 another settlement of around $26.5 million was reached. At this time, an Apple employee named Jim Reekes added a sampled system sound called xylophone to the Macintosh operating system, but Apple's legal department objected on the grounds that Apple Corps would probably not like it. Reekes renamed the sound to sosumi, which he asserted was Japanese and meant nothing musical, but in fact can be read phonetically as "So, sue me".

The 1991 settlement outlines the rights each company has to the Apple trademark. While Apple Corps was given the right to use the name on any "creative works whose principal content is music", Apple Computer was given the right to use the name on "goods or services...used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content," but not on content distributed on physical media. [3] In other words, Apple Computer agreed that it would not package, sell or distribute physical music materials.

In September 2003 Apple Computer was sued by Apple Corps again, this time for introducing iTunes and the iPod which Apple Corps believed was a violation of the previous agreement by Apple not to distribute music. Some observers believe the wording of the previous settlement favors Apple Computer in this case. [4] Other observers speculate that Apple Computer may be forced to offer a much larger settlement this time which may even result in Apple Corps becoming a major shareholder in Apple Computers or, perhaps may result in Apple Computer splitting the iPod and related business into a separate firm. [5]

As of April 2005 this suit has not yet been resolved.

Trademark dispute with Abdul Traya

In July 1998 Abdul Traya and Stan Berg registered the domain name, two months after Apple announced the iMac, in an attempt to draw attention to the web-hosting business they were running out of their parents basement. A note on their site stated that their plan was to "generate traffic to our servers and try to put the domain to sale. [sic]" [6] After a legal dispute that lasted until April 1999, Traya and Apple settled out of court with Apple paying legal fees and giving Traya a "token payment" in exchange for the domain name. [7]

Defamation dispute with Carl Sagan

In 1994 Apple was sued by Carl Sagan for using his name as the internal code-name for the Power Macintosh 7100. Sagan lost the suit twice. See the Carl Sagan article for details.

Trademark dispute with Benjamin Cohen

In November 2000, Benjamin Cohen of CyberBritain registered the domain name, for an mp3 search engine; his first choice, "" was taken. Apple was granted a UK restricted (non music) trademark for ITUNES on 23rd March 2001, and launched its popular iTunes music store service in the UK in 2004. Apple and CyberBritain are now in a dispute over the rights to the name. The story was broken by The Register on the 6th December 2004. For a short period of time, the domain redirected to iTunes biggest rival, Napster. The domain name now forwards to CyberBritain's cash back/rewards website In March 2005, .uk domain registar Nominet UK ruled in Apple's favor in the dispute citing that Cohen had made an "abusive registration," causing many bloggers and small businesses to complain that Nominet was unfairly supporting large corporations. Cohen has stated that he will appeal the case to Britain's High Court.

Apple takes on bloggers

In November 2004, three popular online blogs about Apple rumors released information about two unreleased Apple products, the Mac mini and an as of yet unreleased product codenamed Asteroid, also known as Project Q97. Apple Insider, Power Page, and Think Secret were all brought into the suit under the grounds that they published trade secrets. The suit has brought up the current status of bloggers, and whether they hold the same protection that journalists do. In February 2005 it was decided by a court official in California that the bloggers do not have the same shield laws as journalists. They were forced to give up their sources, leading to multiple other lawsuits. In a related case, all three websites have gone on to fight the journalistic status decision, and are also in the process of settling with Apple Computers.


Apple received a 100% rating on the first Corporate Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign in 2002 related to its policies on LGBT employees. They have maintained this rating in 2003 and 2004.

However, it has been criticized for discriminating against African-Americans.[8] In November 2001, a former product design engineer filed a lawsuit in California alleging racial discrimination in that he was refused promotions and perks, isolated from other staff and dismissed unreasonably. He further alleged he was paid less than white counterparts.

The company was also sued for sexual discrimination, although the case was dismissed after opening statements.[9]

In 2000, Jesse Jackson singled out Apple as a "negative example" of racial tolerance due to its failure to appoint African Americans or Latinos to the board. [10] Apple has still not made such an appointment.


Apple has been criticised for their vertically integrated business model, which runs against the grain of much of the 'received wisdom' of economists, particularly for the computer industry. However, the company is profitable. Other criticisms have included that it has been very personality driven, especially in the two different eras of Steve Jobs' tenure; some even regard it as being a cult, or at least having cult-like features. Jobs' infamous reality distortion field is often cited as a criticism. From a technical standpoint, Apple has also been criticised for having a closed and proprietary architecture with the original Macintosh, and a "not invented here" syndrome against adopting open standards.

However, that trend has been largely reversed with Mac OS X, and the company now has an official policy of adopting open industry standards where they exist. Apple has now used industry standard hardware technologies for many years, which has helped to lower prices significantly. Many Apple technologies have become industry standards where no former standard existed, e.g. ZeroConf network configuration, FireWire, etc. Other technologies, invented elsewhere, only gained wide industry acceptance after Apple adopted them, including 3-1/2 inch floppy disks, SCSI, USB, Wi-Fi and, of course, graphical user interfaces. Mac OS X itself is now based on an open source kernel and core operating system called Darwin. Apple also uses an open source HTML rendering engine in its Safari web browser.

Some third-party developers are also critical of the competing factions within Apple themselves, illustrated by the perception of an ongoing rivalry between the developers of Cocoa, which came from NeXT, and those of Carbon, which came from Apple. This rivalry is seen as counterproductive and unnecessary by many developers.

Apple's retail initiative has had a mixed reception. They have been considered a success in raising awareness of the Apple brand. Retailers have suggested that the Apple-owned retail stores have preferential treatment when receiving Apple hardware, and therefore receive limited stock product earlier, and at lower prices - an accusation that has been officially denied by Apple.

Apple CEOs, 1977-present

See also

External links

Last updated: 10-11-2005 11:59:55
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