This Day in Business History: Apple Inc. Is Founded By Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

April 1, 1976: College dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computers, Inc. The two wanted to make computers small enough for people to have in their homes and offices.

Ever wondered how they came up with the company name? According to an interview that Wozniak did with Byte magazine in December 1984, he credited Jobs with the idea. “He was working from time to time in the orchards up in Oregon. I thought that it might be because there were apples in the orchard or maybe just its fructarian nature. Maybe the word just happened to occur to him. In any case, we both tried to come up with better names but neither one of us could think of anything better after Apple was mentioned.”

Jobs and Wozniak started the business in Jobs’ garage; the first generation, Apple I was initially sold without a monitor, keyboard or casing for $666.66. These were added on in 1977. The Apple II revolutionized the computer industry with the introduction of the first-ever color graphics. Sales jumped from $7.8 million in 1978 to $117 million in 1980, the year Apple went public.

Wozniak left Apple in 1983 due to a diminishing interest in the day-to-day running of Apple Computers. Jobs then hired PepsiCo’s John Sculley to be president. Due to diverging strategies for the company’s growth, Jobs left Apple in 1985 and went on to new and bigger things. He founded his own company NeXT Software and he also bought Pixar from George Lucas, which would later become a huge success in computer animation of such movies as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo.

In 1997 Apple purchased NeXT for $429M in cash, plus 1.5M shares of Apple stock; Steve Jobs was back at Apple and within a short period of time was back running the company.

Sources: MacWorld, Library of Congress


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