Apple was a disaster before Steve Jobs returned to the company he helped start decades earlier. Despite the company’s success in the early 1980s with the Apple II and Macintosh computers, Apple was in big trouble by 1997. The company was hemorrhaging money. The final quarter of 1996 showed Apple’s sales had plummeted 30% from the year before. There were simply too many products – Apple was selling a dozen versions of the Macintosh but couldn’t advertise the computers’ differences to people in simple terms. Shareholders were livid with Apple’s leadership. In short, there was no focus. “It was insanity,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing who was working for Macromedia at the time, told Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson. “Tons of products, most of them crap, done by deluded teams.” The return of Jobs changed all that. By September 1997, Jobs had cut 70% of Apple’s product line and got Apple out of side businesses like printers and servers. “You are bright people,” Jobs told one product group. “You shouldn’t be wasting your time on such crappy products.” This sudden change of strategy is what ultimately saved Apple, especially during that fragile time for the company. In… Read full this story
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