Today in Apple history: Apple signs damaging deal with Microsoft

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One of the most damaging deals in Apple history.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Nov21November 21, 1985: Following Steve Jobs’ departure, Apple comes close to signing its own death warrant by signing away the rights to the Macintosh’s look and feel.

The deal, between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO John Sculley, comes hot on the hells of the Windows operating system’s initial release. The pact gives Microsoft a “non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, nontransferable license to use [parts of the Mac technology] in present and future software programs, and to license them to and through third parties for use in their software programs.”

Oh, boy!

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Today in Apple history: World gets a chance to test-drive a Mac

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Do you remember this ad campaign?
Photo: Apple

Nov8November 8, 1984: With initial Mac sales proving disappointing, Apple CEO John Sculley dreams up the “Test Drive a Macintosh” campaign to encourage people to give Apple’s revolutionary new computer a chance.

200,000 would-be Apple customers take advantage of the offer, but Apple dealers absolutely hate it.

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Benedict Cumberbatch’s SNL toilet ad pokes fun at Apple

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And it comes in Jet Black, too.
Photo: SNL

Whether it was Slack’s CEO last week or SNL this past weekend, it seems the world can’t go more than a few days without paying homage to an iconic piece of Apple marketing.

In a new sketch for Saturday Night Live, none other than Benedict Cumberbatch stepped up to the plate bowl to offer a take on a futuristic toilet ad, which looks suspiciously like Ridley Scott’s “1984” ad for the original Macintosh.

Check it out below.

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Today in Apple history: The forgotten first Mac with an internal CD-ROM

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Oct19
Do you remember the Macintosh IIvx?
Photo: Apple

 19October 19, 1992: Apple launches the Mac IIvx, the first Macintosh computer to ship with a metal case and, more importantly, an internal CD-ROM drive.

The last of the Macintosh II series, the Mac IIvx would experience one of the more notorious price adjustments in Apple history. Within five months of shipping, its launch price of $2,949 would be slashed to $1,899.

Well, that’s one way to reward early adopters…

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Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs and Jef Raskin clash over the Mac

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The war over the Macintosh's soul started this day in 1979.
Photo: Apple

Sept27September 27, 1979: Years before the Macintosh ships, Steve Jobs and Jef Raskin have their first clash over the direction of the Macintosh project, then in its early R&D stage.

As the founder of the Macintosh project, Raskin wants a computer that’s going to be affordable to everyone. Jobs wants a computer that’s going to be the best, regardless of price.

Guess who won?

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Today in Apple history: iMac G5 takes a page out of the iPod’s playbook

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The iMac G5 looked like the world's biggest iPod.
Photo: Matthew Pearce/Flickr CC

Aug 31August 31, 2004: Apple launches the iMac G5, its distinctive all-in-one white plastic iMac that looks a little like the world’s biggest iPod.

Housed in a 2-inch-thick enclosure reminiscent of Apple’s Cinema Displays, the iMac G5 bridges the gap between the pleasing plasticity of the iconic G3 iMac and the minimalist form factor of today’s ultra-slim aluminum Mac desktops.

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Today in Apple history: Mac marketing guru Joanna Hoffman is born

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Kate Winslet (left) plays Joanna Hoffman (right) in Steve Jobs.
Kate Winslet (left) played Joanna Hoffman (right) in last year's Steve Jobs movie.
Photo: Kate Winslet/Apple

27July 27, 1955: Joanna Hoffman, a marketing executive who was part of the original Macintosh and NeXT team — as well as Steve Jobs’ first right-hand woman — is born in Poland.

Six months younger than Jobs, Hoffman (who was played by Kate Winslet in last year’s Steve Jobs movie) is one of the few people willing and able to stand up to the oftentimes-fierce Apple co-founder during the first part of his career.

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Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs visits the Soviet Union

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This was Steve Jobs' one and only trip to the Soviet Union.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Monday4July 4, 1985: Steve Jobs visits Moscow for the one and only time, with the aim of selling Macs to the Russians.

During a two-day trip, Jobs lectured computer science students in the Soviet Union, attended a July Fourth party at the American embassy, discussed opening a Mac factory in Russia, and almost ran afoul of the KGB by praising assassinated Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

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