Pray for Apple?

Amazing. In 1997 Apple stock closed at a low of $3.56. The company had many issues with their product line, the OS was in machines sold by other brands, they tried to make digital cameras, scanners, whatever… and the CEO chair swiveled with people not named Jobs. Apple was a mess.

In June it will be exactly 15 years ago that WIRED magazine featured the Apple logo on the cover with this word. Pray. I’ve kept that original issue, wondering how the Apple story would turn out. Let’s look at some excerpts from that cover story.

101 Ways to Save Apple (and watch a complete turn-around in 15 years).

#98 Feature commercials where buying a Mac saves the day (with silhouettes dancing to U2).

#89 Create a chemical that cleans the Mac’s pale gray plastic (or just create macs out of titanium).

#81 Merge with Sega and become a game company (and 25 billion app downloads are coming).

#71 Become a graphic design company and dominate your niche (or just dominate other industries).

#64 Team with Sony, they want in the computer business (and watch iPod surpass Walkman).

#59 Invest in Newton technology, build voice recognition and gesture recognition (then call her Siri).

#43 Keep your bridge between entertainment and high tech industry (and call it iTunes).

#31 Build a PDA for less than $250.00 (think platform and call it iPhone).

#21 Sell yourself to IBM or Motorola (or grow large enough to buy both of them).

#7 Don’t fade from retail, lease space in a computer store (build stores and lead in sales per sq ft.)

#2 License the Apple name and technology to appliance makers and build interfaces for everything from washing machines to phones (just expand slowly and dominate one market at a time).

#1 Get out of the hardware game. Scrap your hardware production to compete more directly with Microsoft without manufacturing boxes (or market entirely new hardware and call it iPad).

WIRED Magzine really said nothing wrong. They expressed the anxiousness everyone felt at the time when the conversation was about Apple.

Jobs returned as an advisor, then named CEO in July 1997, I believe flying on a white winged horse, or something like that. The late 90’s brought a complex antitrust case against Microsoft and the bundling of its Explorer browser with the OS, and lawsuits between Apple, Microsoft and Intel. That is another story altogether, but eventually Microsoft paid Apple 150M and lawsuits started to go away. Interesting times indeed.

Once Jobs was back in the saddle, uhmm, he did what he did best. Design. In came the iMac in all flavors including tangerine marketing with juicy ads… the brand had life. That was followed up by a simple music player called iPod, then iTunes, then iPhone… the rest of the story writes itself.

Monday March 19, 2012 Apple announced it would pay a $2.65 dividend on its stock, sharing some of the 100 billion in cash with shareholders. Apple is now the largest traded publicly held company by market capitalization topping Exxon Mobile and is worth more than Google and Microsoft combined.

Today, Apple stock closed at $605.96 (just remember where you came from).

Source; James Daly, 1997 WIRED Magazine

posted in Blog, Brand Matters

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