July 9, 2001: Apple earns the title of No. 1 computer manufacturer in the education market, with twice as many machines in schools as runner-up Dell Computer.
It’s a big turnaround from a couple of years earlier, when Dell overtook Apple and Steve Jobs was accused of abandoning this important market.
Apple and the education market
There are plenty of data points you can cite when attempting to chart Apple’s turnaround in the late 1990s. There’s Steve Jobs returning to the company, the launch of the iMac and Apple’s return to profitability.
However, reclaiming the top spot in the education market — one Apple long had pursued — also proved a pivotal moment. The numbers came from a Quality Education Data report, which is sadly no longer online. (A news article recap is, however.)
Apple returns to stability
The education report also indicated the level of stability that Apple once again enjoyed. After Jobs returned to Cupertino in 1997, he began trying to revitalize a company with plenty of problems. To turn things around, he prioritized the consumer and professional markets.
For evidence of this, check out this 1998 interview between Jobs and a young, very inexperienced reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, in which Jobs gets prickly about the declining number of Macs on college campuses.
By 2001, Jobs got his head above water. Then he gave more headspace to education. The following year, Apple launched the eMac — specifically targeted at schools — and achieved wide penetration on campuses.
Apple embraces the education market
Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook continues to pursue the education market, as evidenced by the “Everyone Can Code” initiative. The company continues to expand this program, which teaches students to use Apple’s Swift programming language, around the world.
“Coding is an essential skill for today’s workforce, and through Everyone Can Code, we’re giving people around the world the power to learn, write and teach coding,” Cook said in 2018. “Since launching ‘Everyone Can Code’ two years ago, we’ve seen growing excitement for the initiative from schools around the world, who are increasingly incorporating the curriculum into their classrooms.”
Were you in education in the early 2000s? What was the availability of Apple computers in your school, college or university? Let us know in the comments below.