Influenced by robotics assembly lines in Japan, Steve decided to "build the most advanced assembly plant in the world") for the production of the Macintosh. It was fully automated and the labor component accounted for only one percent of the total cost.
Simultaneously to feverish efforts to finish the Macintosh, Apple succeeded in finding a new president. Thanks to Steve's visionary powers of persuasion, John Sculley, top manager at PepsiCo, finally agreed to join Apple in April 1983.
The introduction of the Macintosh, which was Steve's revolutionary machine to change the world, was dated to January 1984 and was to be accompanied by a massive ad campaign in the media. Chiat/Day agency was asked to create a commercial referring to the fact that 1984 was the year of Orwell's famous novel. They produced the sixty-second ad, which was really exceptional, and proposed running it only once - during the Super Bowl, the most watched television event of the year.
It would be a million dollar minute, which was to capture public attention. Macintosh was presented as a milestone product that would revolutionize the way of computing, breaking IBM's, the "Big Brother's" dominance and conformity it was about to establish by its IBM PCs.
When the commercial was broadcast, it reached 46.4 percent of America's households. People were stunned about this outrageous ad, which was "unlike anything they had seen before.") Suddenly, millions of people knew something called Macintosh. The "commercial sparked widespread controversy"), and won the highest advertising awards (more than 30).
The Macintosh (priced at $2,495) was a success from the start. Steve Jobs, the visionary, compared it to Graham Bell's invention of the telephone a hundred years ago. It was the "most approachable") and sophisticated personal computer of the time, which ushered in a new era of easy computing with a graphical interface and mouse. This feature would be taken over by many software companies in the subsequent years, particularly by big Microsoft, which developed Windows. This graphical user interface, which ha s been established as the industry standard today, is quite similar to Macintosh's and makes possible the easy use of IBM PCs.
In the first 100 days, an industry record of more than 70,000 Macintosh computers were shipped - a number that went up to the total of 250,000 sold units by the end of the year.
John Sculley and Steve Jobs
Despite the astonishing figures of sold Macintosh computers and a boost in sales to more than $1.5 billion in 1984 (up 55% from 1983),) Apple soon fell into its most severe crisis, which would only be overcome by Sculley's hard measures and led to the firing of its visionary Steve Jobs.
John Sculley had been vice-president at PepsiCo where he had successfully made Pepsi the number one brand in the Cola Wars. Actually, there was no reason for him, one of America's top managers with a secure and highly paid position at PepsiCo, to join a bunch of young computer nerds at the West coast. The reason why he finally agreed yet is Steve Jobs who impressed him by his visionary ideas and asked him a question to which he did have no answer: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?") This question told him that his "entire life was at a critical crossroads.")
Sculley and Jobs became close friends. They could "complete each other's sentences" because they "were on the same wavelength.") The "dynamic duo", as they were called in an issue of Business Week in October 1983, was esteemed highly in the press and contributed significantly to Apple's good reputation in the public at the time.
The downfall came soon, however, when their largely overestimated expectations of the Macintosh sales could not be met. In their euphoria about the revolutionary Mac, they thought they would ship 80,000 units by the end of 1984, and had produced them in advance. When the reality brought "merely" 20,000 with a falling tendency, the crisis was evident. Reasons for that decline were that the Macintosh was not as "perfect" as expected - with its 128 KByte RAM (they were then mounted to 512 KB) it was not powerful enough, and there were hardly any software applications available yet. Moreover, at the 1985 annual meeting, Jobs and Sculley neglected the fact that 70 percent of the company's sales were still due to the Apple II, whereas the Macintosh accounted for only 30 percent. Many sophisticated Apple II designers were annoyed and left the company.
Steve Jobs became more and more angry and aggressive because of the continuing drop in Macintosh sales (merely 2,500 units in March 1985).) He blamed everyone for it, except for himself. Steve just did not see that the "problem was with him.") In the end, he blamed even Sculley for the crisis and wanted to lead the company himself. But this seemed impossible to everyone else: "Steve was a big thinker, an inspirational motivator, but not a day-to-day manager. What was sad was that he could not see it.")
When Sculley was informed that Jobs intended to remove him insidiously from the company, he was quite concerned, but then decided to choose the company's welfare over his friendship to its visionary co-founder. Supported by Markkula and the other members of the board, in May 1985, he dismissed Steve from his positions as the vice-president and as the leader of the Macintosh division; Jobs did not have any managerial power anymore.
Steve Jobs was quite depressed and made trips to Europe and the Soviet Union. Finally, he decided to leave Apple in December 1985, and sold all his Apple shares. He took along some of the best employees to start his new venture - NeXT. He intended to design a workstation for the university sector. In February 1987, billionaire Ross Perot invested $20 million for 16 percent of NeXT. The new computer was introduced to the public in October 1988, priced at $6,000.
At Apple, John Sculley took several measures to save the company, which had become chaotic. In the course of a major reorganization he dismissed 1,200 employees (20% of the total workforce) and put the broken parts of the company together to form one unified Apple. His restructuring saved a lot of costs and consolidated the company.
1986 was Apple's worst year with a decline in net sales from $1.92 (1985) to $1.90 billion. Gradually, Sculley could persuade software companies, which had turned away from Apple, to write applications for the Macintosh.
Apple found its new market in desktop publishing (DTP), for which the Macintosh was predestined. By the time, the Macintosh became a serious tool for the business market and its sales increased again.
Until today, Apple has grown steadily and now reaches net sales of more than $7 billion. Although the Macintosh lost the battle against Big Blue, today it is a successful product and was sold over 2.5 million times worldwide in 1992. Apple remains the second-biggest personal computer manufacturer after IBM and has released innovative products such as QuickTime, an easy to use multimedia software combining sound, video and animation. Its latest development is Newton, a personal digital assistant (PDA), which serves as an electronic notepad and "integrates advanced hand-writing recognition, communication and data-management technologies.")
CUPERTINO, California—December 5, 2000—Apple today announced that it has experienced significantly slower than expected sales during October and November, which will result in revenues and earnings for its quarter ending December 30, 2000 being substantially below expectations.
The company expects to report revenue of about $1 billion and a net loss, excluding investment gains, of between $225 and $250 million.
The $600 million revenue shortfall from previous expectations is due to lower than expected channel sell-through across all geographies and unplanned sales promotions and pricing actions. The net loss is the result of the revenue shortfall and cancellation charges related to decreases in forecasted component purchases for current products.
"The swift industry-wide decline in PC sales will result in Apple's first non-profitable quarter in three years," said Apple's CEO Steve Jobs. "We're not happy about it, and plan to return to sustained profitability next quarter. We are committed to reducing our channel inventories to normal levels by the end of this quarter, and remain very excited about the new products and programs Apple will be rolling out in 2001."
"In light of the lower results anticipated for the December quarter, we now expect revenues for fiscal 2001 to be in the $6 to $6.5 billion range," said Apple's CFO Fred Anderson.