December 4, 1992: Apple engineers demonstrate a “proof of concept” of the Mac operating system running on an Intel computer.
More than a decade before Macs switch to Intel processors, the astonishing feat is part of an aborted plan to make Apple’s software available on other manufacturer’s hardware. Apple ultimately chickens out, fearing (probably correctly) that this will hurt its hardware sales.
November 21, 1985: Following Steve Jobs’ departure, Apple comes close to signing its own death warrant by licensing the Macintosh’s look and feel to Microsoft.
The deal, between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO John Sculley, comes hot on the heels of the Windows operating system’s 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.”
November 8, 1984: When initial Mac sales prove 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.
While 200,000 would-be Apple customers take advantage of the offer, Apple dealers absolutely hate it.
October 21, 1991: Apple launches its PowerBook 100 series, a pivotal laptop that becomes one of the most important tech gadgets of all time.
These devices almost single-handedly turned notebook computers into a mainstream technology. Apple’s subsequent success in this category — whether it’s the current MacBooks or even the rise of mobile devices like the iPhone — owes a huge debt to the PowerBook 100 series.
October 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 experiences one of the more notorious price adjustments in Apple history. Within five months of shipping, Apple slashes the computer’s launch price of $2,949 to $1,899. That’s one way to reward early adopters!
October 15, 1993: John Sculley, the CEO responsible for forcing Steve Jobs out of Apple, is forced to leave the company himself.
Following a terrible quarter, in which the company posted a 97 percent drop in earnings, Sculley steps down as Apple chairman. He takes $1 million in severance pay, a one-year consulting fee of $750,000, a commitment from Apple to buy his $4 million mansion and $2 million Lear jet, and $2.4 million in stock options. Total take: around $10 million.