Phoenix of the Computer Age
July 1997: Steve Jobs returns as CEO of Apple.
6 August 1997: on the verge of insolvency, Apple receives a $150 million lifeline from nemesis Microsoft.
28 September 2000: Apple announces lower than expected fourth quarter earnings. The 429-word press release causes the company’s stock to drop more than 50% in a single trading day and halves its market value.
23 October 2001: Apple announces the iPod. Pundits quickly predict its demise at the hands of any number of larger, better-funded companies.
17 April 2003: Apple’s stock trades at a low of $6.56 per share.
29 April 2003: Apple announces the iTunes Store, selling MP3s and, later, movies and TV shows. Pundits also expect the store’s demise alongside the iPod.
October 2004: the iPod line takes control of 70% the MP3 market.
12 September 2006: the iTunes Store controls 88% of the legal US music download market.
11 April 2007: the iTunes Store becomes the world’s most popular online movie store.
3 April 2008: the iTunes Store surpasses Wal-Mart as the #1 music retailer in the US.
9 January 2007: Apple announces the iPhone.
12 March 2010: Apple announces the iPad.
26 May 2010: Apple surpasses Microsoft in market value.
21 April 2011: Apple surpasses Nokia as the world’s largest mobile handset vendor.
26 July 2011: Apple’s stock trades at a high of $403.41 per share.
10 August 2011: Apple surpasses ExxonMobil to become the world’s most valuable company in terms of market value.
Naturally, no one is king of the hill forever. Steve Jobs knows that. But I do enjoy pointing out how he returned to a company on the brink of death and rebuilt it into a titan of industry and innovation. That achievement defied all expectations.