Today in Apple history: Apple begins retail venture inside CompUSA

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CompUSA_Santa_Clara_2
Apple wanted more control over how it sold its computers.
Photo: Coolcaesar/Wikipedia CC

Nov4November 4, 1997: Apple announces a new deal to give it a mini “store within a store” in CompUSA outlets around the United States.

In a step toward the official Apple stores that would launch four years later, Cupertino staffs these mini-stores with Apple-trained employees. The move gives Apple a bit more control over the way its products get displayed and demoed to consumers.

How this money man helped Steve Jobs turn Pixar into a powerhouse [Kahney’s Korner podcast]

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Lawrence Levy former Pixar CFO
Lawrence Levy, Pixar's former CFO and author of To Pixar and Beyond.
Photo: Lawrence Levy

In the early ’90s, Pixar was in the middle of creating its first movie, Toy Story, but the company was in disarray. It was bleeding cash and floundering around looking for a business model.

To help turn it around, Steve Jobs hired Lawrence Levy, a former corporate lawyer, to help figure out how to make Pixar a real business.

In this week’s episode of Kahney’s Korner, I talk to Levy about how exactly he and Jobs made Pixar into one of the most successful movie studios in history.

New book paints intimate portrait of Steve Jobs at work [Review]

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To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy
In To Pixar and Beyond, Lawrence Levy offers an insider look at Steve Jobs' early struggles at the animation studio.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

After his death, Steve Jobs became mythic. He’s remembered as an asshole and a technology seer: a Tony Stark-like figure who could uniquely divine the sci-fi future, conjuring magical products from whole cloth almost single-handedly.

He’s also seen as infallible: a business and technology genius with powers of divination beyond those of us mere mortals.

But To Pixar and Beyond, a new book by Lawrence Levy, the former CFO of Pixar, paints a very different picture.

Today in Apple history: iTunes video takes world by storm

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Kanye West in all his Apple-loving glory. Photo: Rodrigo Ferrari CC
Artists like Kanye West helped drive music video downloads past 1 million in less than 20 days.
Photo: Rodrigo Ferrari/Flickr CC

Oct31

October 31, 2005: Less than three weeks after launching video downloads with iTunes 6, Apple reveals that it has already sold more than 1 million music videos.

Apple’s dive into the online digital video market — with 2,000 music videos, Pixar short films, and a selection of hit TV shows for $1.99 — was the logical next step after selling individual songs on iTunes.

Passing the 1 million download benchmark so quickly suggests the plan is a roaring success.

Today in Apple history: Dell overtakes Macs in Education market

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eMac
Steve Jobs was accused of failing one of Apple's most popular markets.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Oct27October 27, 1999:  Dell Computer overtakes Apple in the Educational market, toppling Apple’s lead position as the the top company selling computers to U.S. educational institutions.

Steve Jobs, who is still in the process of rebuilding Apple after its near-collapse in the 1990s, is heavily criticized for ignoring one of the company’s strongest markets.