The end of the century gave Apple new life, but there was one big obstacle to tackle: Clones, as clone vendors such as Power Computing. Clones were taking customers away from Apple and were cutting into Apple’s high-end market, where they traditionally made the most profit. Steve Jobs annonced Apple’s new corporat strategy on November 10, 1997. Through the years to come Appple would sell computers direct, both over the web and the phone, as Power Computing had done so well in the past. This strategy was fully implemented by 1999. In July 1999, the iBook was introduced. This computer brought style to the low-end portable market. Several months later, the PowerMac G4 was introduced, a new professional desktop machine. Apple’s stock had risen all summer, and by mid-September 1999 was trading at an all-time high, in the high 70s. In his Keynote at MacWorld Expo SF in January 2000, Steve Jobs unveiled Apple’s new Internet strategy: a suite of mac-only internet-based applications called “iTools” and an exclusive partnership with Earthlink as Apple’s recommended ISP. In July 2000, Apple announced a slew of new machines, including the PowerMac G4 Cube, which added a fifth category to Apple’s four-corner product strategy.
History of the Apple Computer Corporation
Apple History 1999
January 4, 1999: In San Francisco, California, the Macworld Expo / San Francisco trade show is held, over five days.
January 5, 1999: At Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs announces the release of new iMac computers in five bright colors. Each includes 266 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 32 MB RAM, 15-inch monitor, and 6 GB hard drive. Price is US$1199. Apple Computer introduces new Power Mac G3 series computers. They feature two-tone blue/white polycarbonate translucent cases with a handle on each corner, keyboard, mouse, two USB ports, two FireWire ports, 300 to 400 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 100 MHz system bus, up to 1 GB RAM, ATI Rage 128 graphics card, 4 PCI slots, 10/100BaseT Ethernet, hard drive, CD or DVD drive. Prices start at US$1599-2999.
January 6, 1999: At the Macworld Expo, Connectix releases the Virtual Game Station software for the Apple Macintosh computer, allowing users to play Sony PlayStation video games on their computers. Price is US$49.
6 January, 1999: Apple Computer releases Mac OS 8.5.1 operating system.
January 1999: Best Buy drops the Apple Computer iMac line from its stores.
March 16, 1999: Apple releases Mac OS X Server 1.0 and a preview version of Mac OS X for developers.
March 1999: Apple Computer releases the Final Cut Pro software for the Macintosh.
April 20, 1999: The Fox Broadcasting Company airs the Futurama TV show. In a law court scene, the judge closely resembles an original Apple Macintosh computer. When the computer freezes, someone suggests “Try control-alt-delete”.
April 22, 1999: In the US, Connectix ceases shipping its Virtual Game Station software for the Apple Macintosh computer, complying with a federal court order. Sony filed a trademark and patent infringement lawsuit against the company in January. The software allows Sony PlayStation games to be played on Apple computers.
May 1999: Apple Computer introduces the PowerBook G3/333 portable computer. It features 333 MHz G3 processor, 64 MB RAM, ATI Rage LT Pro graphics controller with 8 MB RAM, 14.1-inch active matrix display, Ethernet, 56 kbps modem, 512 kB Level 2 cache, 4 GB hard drive, 24X CD-ROM drive. Weight is 5.9 pounds; thickness is 1.7 inches; price is US$2500.
May 16, 1999: The Fox Broadcasting Company airs The Simpsons TV show in the US. A cyber-cafe shows several color-cased computers, a reference to the Apple Computer iMac computers.
June 1, 1999: Apple Computer releases the Power Macintosh G3/350, /400, and /450 computers, with updated PowerPC G3 processors. All include Mac OS 8.6.
June 9, 1999: Apple Computer ships QuickTime 4 software for the Macintosh. This release adds MP3 audio support.
June 20, 1999: The TNT television network airs the film Pirates of Silicon Valley in the US. The film is about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in the early days of the personal computer industry.
June 29, 1999: La Salle Gallery in San Francisco sells an original Apple I computer with user manual, keyboard, and cabinet, at auction for US$18,000.
June 30, 1999: Apple introduces the PowerBook G3/400 portable computer. It features 400 MHz G3 processor, 64 MB RAM, ATI Rage LT Pro graphics controller with 8 MB RAM, 14.1-inch active matrix display, Ethernet, 56 kbps modem, 1 MB Level 2 cache, 6 GB hard drive, DVD-ROM drive. Price is US$2499.
July (?) 1999: Steve Jobs discusses with Ben Rosen, Chairman and interim CEO of Compaq at the time, for the world’s then-largest Wintel PC manufacturer to license Mac OS which would have been a coup for Apple. No agreement will be reached, as Apple had second thoughts about licensing its “crown jewel”, while Compaq did not want to offend Microsoft whom they had partnered with since their founding in 1982. (Ben Rosen admitted later than by 2007 he had switched to being a Mac user).
July 1, 1999: In San Jose, California, Apple Computer files a lawsuit against Future Power and parent company Daewoo over the recently introduced E-Power personal computer that looks nearly identical to the Apple iMac.
July 21, 1999: At the MacWorld trade show, Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs shows the iBook portable computer. It features 12.1-inch TFT display, 300 MHz G3 processor, 4 MB ATI Rage Mobility graphics chip, CD-ROM drive, 32 MB RAM, modem, USB and 10/100Base-T Ethernet ports, 3 GB hard drive, keyboard, Mac OS 8.6, V.90 modem, AppleWorks software, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator, and comes in a translucent cover in tangerine or blueberry colors. Battery power lasts about six hours. Price is US$1599; weight is 6.6 pounds; size is 2 x 13.5 x 11.6 inches.
July 22, 1999: At the Macworld trade show, Apple Computer introduces the AirPort wireless networking system, based on the IEEE 802.11b standard.
July 22, 1999: At the Macworld trade show, Steve Jobs announces the Halo: Combat Evolved game for Mac and Windows computers.
August 19, 1999: Apple Computer files a complaint against eMachines for copying the look of the iMac with the eOne computers.
August 31, 1999: At the Seybold conference in San Francisco, California, Apple Computer unveils the Apple Cinema Display, a 22-inch LCD flat-panel display. Price is US$3999.
August 31, 1999: Apple Computer releases the Power Mac G4 computer. It features a 400 MHz PowerPC G4, 64 MB RAM, CD-ROM drive, 10 GB hard disk. Prices start at US$1599.
August 1999: iMac computers sold to date: 2 million.
September 3, 1999: In Iowa, Microware Systems files a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Apple Computer, claiming trademark violation by Apple of Microware’s “OS-9” operating system. Microware seeks Apple’s earnings from the sale of Mac OS 9, and an order refraining Apple from using the name in advertising. (The Court dismissess the lawsuit in March.)
September 1999: Apple Computer begins shipping the iBook computer. Apple uses its strategy of differentiating the consumer versus professional product lines. Apple’s focus on design has allowed each of its subsequent products to create a distinctive identity. Apple avoided using the beige colors then pervading the PC industry. The company would later drift from the multicolored designs of the late 1990s and early-2001s. Apple used anodized aluminum; glass; and white, black, and clear polycarbonate plastics among their build materials. Today many PCs are more design-conscious than before the iMac’s introduction, with multi-shaded design schemes being common, and some desktops and laptops available in colorful, decorative patterns. Apple’s use of translucent, candy-colored plastics inspired similar designs in other consumer devices (e.g., kitchen countertop grilling machines; portable electronics; pencil sharpeners; and, video game consoles and peripherals (including the Nintendo 64, which was released in special edition ‘Funtastic’ colors). Apple’s later introduction of the iPod, iBook G3 (Dual USB), and iMac G4 (all featuring snowy-white plastic), will inspire similar designs in other company’s consumer electronics products. The color rollout also featured two distinctive ads: one called ‘Life Savers’ featured the Rolling Stones song “She’s a Rainbow” and an advertisement for the white version had the introduction of Cream’s “White Room” as its backing track.
September 20, 1999: Tokyo District Court issues a preliminary injunction against eMachines for the eOne computers copying the look of Apple Computer’s iMac computers.
October 1999: Apple Computer introduces the updated iMac computer. It features 350 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 64 MB RAM, 6 GB hard drive, two USB ports, v.90 modem, Ethernet port, 512 kB L2 cache, 24X ATI Rage 128 VR 2D/3D graphics accelerator with 8 MB video RAM in AGP 2X slot, Mac OS 8.6 operating system, CD-ROM drive, in a blueberry colored case, for US$999.
October 1999: Apple Computer introduces the iMac DV computer. It features 400 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 64 MB RAM, 10 GB hard drive, two 400-Mbps FireWire ports, v.90 modem, Ethernet port, ATI Rage 128 VR 2D/3D graphics accelerator with 8 MB video RAM in AGP 2X slot, 512 kB L2 cache, DVD-ROM drive, iMovie software, in a choice of five case colors, for US$1299.
October 1999: Apple Computer introduces the iMac DV Special Edition computer. It features 400 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 128 MB RAM, 13 GB hard drive, two 400-Mbps FireWire ports, v.90 modem, Ethernet port, ATI Rage 128 VR 2D/3D graphics accelerator with 8 MB video RAM in AGP 2X slot, 512 kB L2 cache, DVD-ROM drive, iMovie software, in a gray graphite textured case, for US$1499.
October 22, 1999: Apple Computer releases the Mac OS 9 operating system.
December 31, 1999: Market share of personal computer shipments in the US during October to December: Dell Computer 16.8%, Compaq Computer 16.1%, Hewlett-Packard 10.2%, Gateway 9.2%, IBM 5.5%, Apple Computer 3.9%. Market share of personal computer shipments in the US during the year: Dell Computer 16.6%, Compaq Computer 16.1%, Gateway 8.9%, Hewlett-Packard 8.8%, IBM 7.3%, Apple Computer 4.4%. Market share of personal computer shipments worldwide during the year: Compaq Computer 13.9%, Dell Computer 10.5%, IBM 8.2%, Hewlett-Packard 6.7%, NEC 5.5%, Fujitsu Siemens 5.5%, Apple Computer 3.4%. Market share of home personal computers in the US for the year: Compaq Computer 19.0%, Hewlett-Packard 16.1%, EMachines 11.0%, Packard Bell NEC 7.3%, Apple Computer 7.1%, other 24.2%. Shipments of Apple Computer iMac computers worldwide during the year: 2 million.
- Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers: islandnet.com/~kpolsson/comphist.
- Apple History: http://www.apple-history.com.
- iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. 2007. by Steve Wozniak and Gina Smith.
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
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