Today in Apple history: Tide turns against Apple in war with Microsoft

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Mac vs. PC
A judge's decision proves very damaging to Apple.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

August 14: Today in Apple history: Tide turns against Apple in war with Microsoft August 14, 1991: As Apple and Microsoft head to court to battle each other, the tide begins to turn against Cupertino and its claims that Windows unlawfully copies the look and feel of Mac OS.

The case concerns whether key elements of Apple’s operating system are original enough for copyright protection. The decision turns out to be a major blow against Apple — and the start of the company’s 1990s decline.

Today in Apple history: Newton MessagePad inspires mobile revolution

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The Newton MessagePad looks gigantic next to an iPhone.
The Newton MessagePad looks gigantic next to an iPhone.
Photo: Blake Patterson/Wikipedia CC

August 2: Today in Apple history: Newton MessagePad launch inspires mobile revolution August 2, 1993: Apple debuts the MessagePad, the first product in its Newton line of handheld personal digital assistants.

The most unfairly maligned product in Apple history, the Newton is a revolutionary device. It predates Apple’s push toward app-based mobile devices 14 years later. Often dismissed as a failure, the Newton ranks near the top of the list of Apple’s most influential creations.

Today in Apple history: Windows scores big victory over Mac

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Windows used a number of elements of the Mac UI
Windows used a number of elements of the Mac UI.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

July 25: Today in Apple history: Windows scores big legal victory over Mac when judge throws out Apple's copyright infringement claims July 25, 1989: Apple suffers a major setback in its copyright-infringement lawsuit against Microsoft for allegedly stealing the Mac’s “look and feel” to create Windows.

Apple sued Microsoft on 189 counts of copyright infringement relating to Windows 2.0.3. The judge overseeing the case throws out 179 of them. This paves the way for Microsoft’s dominance over Apple in the coming decade.

Today in Apple history: Bill Gates urges Apple to license Mac OS

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Bill Gates
Bill Gates took this strategy and made himself a multibillionaire.
Photo: Fulvio Obregon

June 25: Today in Apple history: Bill Gates urges Apple to license Mac OS June 25, 1985: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates sends a memo to Apple execs suggesting that Cupertino should license its Mac operating system and additional technology to other companies

Apple CEO John Sculley and Macintosh boss Jean Louis Gassée ignore the advice of the 30-year-old Gates, who at the time is best known as a Mac developer. Five months later, Microsoft releases Windows 1.0.

Today in Apple history: Apple’s eWorld online service goes live

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Enter Apple eWorld. Short of a Nirvana MIDI file playing in the background, you can't get more 1990s than this!
It doesn't get more 1990s than this!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

June 20: Today in Apple history: Apple launches eWorld, a subscription service for Mac owners to get online June 20, 1994: Apple launches eWorld, a subscription service for Mac owners that’s designed to compete with America Online and other nascent online properties.

Part messaging service and part news aggregator, Apple envisions eWorld competing with the likes of AOL, Delphi, CompuServe and Prodigy. Unfortunately, Apple’s online service is doomed from the start.

Today in Apple history: John Sculley steps down as Apple CEO

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Former Apple CEO John Sculley talks at Web Summit 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.
John Sculley ran Apple for a decade.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

June 18 Today in Apple history June 18, 1993: John Sculley steps down as CEO after a 10-year run at Apple.

Sculley is asked to leave by the Apple board after AAPL shares collapse from a high of $4.33 in 1992 to 73 cents the following year. He hands over the CEO role to Michael Spindler before briefly taking the role of Apple chairman, prior to departing altogether.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs says Apple is being run by ‘caretakers’

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1984
Steve Jobs thought ditching ad agency Chiat/Day proved that Apple had lost its creative mojo.
Photo: Apple and Chiat/Day

May 27: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs says Apple is being run by caretakers May 27, 1986: An exiled Steve Jobs takes a shot at Apple after the company ditches Chiat/Day, the ad agency that created the iconic “1984” Macintosh ad.

In a full-page ad published in The Wall Street Journal, Jobs says the move to competing ad agency BBDO shows that “caretakers” rather than “builders” now run Apple. From his perspective, it confirms that Apple has lost its revolutionary spirit.

Today in Apple history: Apple becomes world’s most valuable tech company

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money
It was a big day for Apple!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac/401Calculator

May 26: Today in Apple history: Apple worth more than Microsoft for first time May 26, 2010: In a massive milestone, Apple passes Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable technology company.

The changing of the guard proves particularly amazing given that, just 15 years earlier, Apple looked close to dead, while Microsoft dominated the tech world thanks to Windows.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs attempts a boardroom coup

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Jobs
Sadly for Steve, things didn't work in his favor.
Photo: Esther Dyson/Flickr CC

May 23: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs attempts a boardroom coup May 23, 1985: Bitter about being ousted from his position running the Macintosh division, Steve Jobs attempts to stage a coup to seize control of Apple from CEO John Sculley.

The 30-year-old Apple co-founder plans to overthrow Sculley while the CEO is away on a business trip in China. Unfortunately for Jobs, he makes a critical mistake when he tries to recruit the support of Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, who informs Sculley of the plot.

It’s the beginning of the end for Jobs’ first tenure at Apple.

Today in Apple history: John Sculley brings ‘Pepsi Generation’ marketing to Apple

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john-sculley
John Sculley was Apple's third president and CEO.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

May 17: Today in Apple history: John Sculley starts as Apple CEO May 17, 1983: John Sculley takes the helm as Apple’s third president and CEO. The former Pepsi-Cola boss is short on tech experience but long on marketing, which will become increasingly important as the personal computer revolution ramps up.

Steve Jobs personally lured Sculley to Apple using one of the most famous lines in the history business. “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water,” Jobs asked Sculley, “or do you want a chance to change the world?”