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Archive for Sunday, August 12, 2001

Apple Computer sparks desktop revolution

August 12, 2001

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Remember the Apple II? It was the tan, boxy little desktop machine that introduced microcomputers to the world in 1977.

Apple Computer Inc. scored another breakthrough in 1984 when the Macintosh first popularized a user-friendly interface with point-and-click icons.

Apple's machines later were overshadowed by the IBM PC and its clones. But they won't be lost in history.

When IBM Corp. introduced its first personal computer in August 1981, the Apple II dominated the first generation of desktop machines. Based in the heart of Silicon Valley, Apple a year later became the first PC company to reach $1 billion in annual sales.

The Macintosh was revolutionary in replacing the text-based operating system with a graphical user interface, using icons and windowlike features. Computer users no longer had to remember crude keyboard commands to get around.

IBM and clone PC makers wanted to license the Macintosh software to run on their machines, but Apple refused.

In hindsight, the decision cast a fateful blow. As Apple held onto its proprietary software and chips, other computer companies turned to Microsoft Corp. for operating systems and Intel Corp. and others for microprocessors.

Apple's market leadership eroded as the sales of PCs from IBM, Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and others soared.

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