Apple History: First Business Plan, IPO Now Public | Cult of Mac

Apple History: First Business Plan, IPO Now Public



Thanks to the Computer History Museum, Apple buffs can delve into company history with the first business plan and IPO.

The 1977 38-page IPO, done in a typewriter-y font with the odd punctuation issue, lists management as the fourth risk factor for potential investors:  “Apple Computers’ Management team is young and relatively in-experienced in the high volume consumer electronics business.”

And would you put money into a company headed by these key execs?

*  “S.P. Jobs, V.P. Operations, Attended Stanford and Reed College, Engineer – Atari – 2 Yrs”
* “S.G. Wozniak, V.P. Engineering, Attended University of Colorado and University of California at Berkley [sic], Engr. Tennant – 1 Yr., Engr. Electroglass – 1 Yr., Engr. – Hewlett-Packard – 3 Yrs.”

The IPO was donated to the Mountain View Museum by original Apple investor Mike Markkula, who saw massive potential in the green startup. In 1977, Steve Jobs met with Markkula and convinced him that personal computers were an exciting opportunity. Markkula invested $250,000 in Apple for a one-third stake in the company and served as president from 1981-83.

IPO: on the market for Apple products
IPO: on the market for Apple products

The 30-page business plan was donated by Apple’s first employee Dan Kottke, who built and tested the Apple I computer that Wozniak and Jobs had conceived in Jobs garage in 1976.

Apple’s early strategy was to encourage businesses to move up market to the expensive Lisa and Apple III computers, costing between $3,000 and $5,000, while popular users would move down to the cheap Mac, “leaving Band 3 manufacturers out in the cold!!”

This plan can shed light on some of the struggles Apple Computer faced in taking the Mac from the germ of an idea and a few rough prototypes to a successful mass-produced product, the museum web site says.

“Apple has grown into such a corporate icon that it’s a special treat for us to see its dawn as a business — right down to the handmade corrections on the first financial projections in the offering document,” said John Hollar, the Computer History Museum’s President and CEO said in a press release.

You can download them and read commentary from Silicon Valley historians on the museum web site.

Screen shot @courtesy Computer History Museum
Via San Francisco Business Times


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