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Today in Apple history: Secret project ports Mac OS to PCs

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intel
Should Apple have licensed Mac OS back in the early 1990s?
Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr CC

December 4: Today in Apple history: Secret Apple project nicknamed 'Star Trek' ports Mac OS to PCs under the code-name 'Macrosoft' 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 will switch to Intel processors, the astonishing feat is part of an aborted plan to make Apple’s software available on other manufacturers’ hardware. Apple ultimately chickens out, fearing (probably correctly) that such a move would hurt Macintosh sales.

Today in Apple history: Pixar IPO makes Steve Jobs a billionaire

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Steve_Jobs_2007
The Pixar IPO is a key part of Steve Jobs' professional turnaround.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

November 29: Today in Apple history: Pixar makes Steve Jobs a billionaire November 29, 1995: Capitalizing on the success of Toy Story, Pixar floats 6.9 million shares on the stock market. The IPO makes Steve Jobs, who owns upward of 80% of the animation studio, a billionaire.

After the windfall, one of the first people Jobs calls is his friend, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, who’s already a member of the billionaire’s club.

“Hello, Larry?” Jobs tells his friend on the phone. “I made it.”

Today in Apple history: A phone call sows the seeds of OS X

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Look familiar? NeXT's OpenStep operating system laid the groundwork for OS X.
Look familiar?
Photo: The Color Convergence

Nov 25: Today in Apple history: The seeds of OS X are sown with NeXT OpenStep November 25, 1996: A midlevel manager at NeXT contacts Apple about the possibility of Cupertino licensing NeXT’s OpenStep operating system.

Garrett L. Rice’s communication with Ellen Hancock, Apple’s chief technology officer, is the first formal step in a long process. It ultimately leads to Apple buying NeXT, the creation of OS X, and Steve Jobs returning home to the company he co-founded.

Today in Apple history: Toy Story 2 arrives in theaters

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Toy Story 2 coincided with the start of Steve Jobs' own career second act.
Toy Story 2 coincided with the start of Steve Jobs' own career second act.
Photo: Pixar

November 24: Today in Apple history: Toy Story 2 arrives in theaters November 24, 1999: Steve Jobs gets another feather in his cap when Toy Story 2, the sequel to the 1995 Pixar hit, debuts in theaters. It goes on to become the first animated sequel in history to gross more than the original.

While more a piece of Steve Jobs history than Apple history, the release of Toy Story 2 caps a spectacular year for Apple’s CEO.

Today in Apple history: Copland, Apple’s ‘unreleased’ Mac OS, ships to devs

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Remember Mac OS Copland? Probably not from using it.
Remember Mac OS Copland? Probably not from using it.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac/Ste Smith

November 17: Today in Apple history: Mac OS Copland, Apple's 'unreleased' Mac OS, ships to developers November 17, 1995: Apple releases the first beta version of its new Mac OS Copland operating system to around 50 developers. Not so much a Mac OS update as a totally new operating system, it offers next-gen features designed to help Apple take on the then-mighty Windows 95.

Sadly, it will never reach the public.

Today in Apple history: Cupertino salivates over the restaurant biz

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Apple Cafes were set to sweep the world. They didn't.
Photo: Apple/Mega Bytes International

November 12: Today in Apple history: Apple wants to get into the restaurant business with Apple Cafes November 12, 1996: Apple lays out a wild plan to get into the restaurant business, saying it will open a chain of Apple Cafes with a touchscreen point-of-sale system.

A bit like future Apple retail stores — but without the computers and iPhones for sale — the restaurants would open in cities around the world. The first, Apple says, will be a 15,000-square-foot restaurant in Los Angeles, opening in late 1997.

Spoiler alert: None of this happens.

Today in Apple history: Turnaround artist Gil Amelio joins Apple’s board

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Photo: Apple

November 9: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio joins Apple board of directors November 9, 1994: Gil Amelio, a businessman with a reputation as a talented turnaround artist, joins Apple’s board.

Coming off his impressive revitalization of National Semiconductor and Rockwell International, Amelio’s appointment at Apple sparks widespread celebration. Many Apple watchers think his arrival means the company’s dark days are over. Sadly, Amelio’s turnaround tricks won’t work in Cupertino.

Today in Apple history: Newton MessagePad makes its last stand

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The Newton MessagePad 2100 was the last hurrah for Apple's Newton line.
The MessagePad 2100 was the last hurrah for Apple's Newton line.
Photo: Moparx

November 7: Today in Apple history: Apple releases the Newton MessagePad 2100, the last and best iteration of the company's PDA November 7, 1997: Apple releases the Newton MessagePad 2100, the last and best iteration of the company’s early line of handheld devices.

Among its improvements over previous generations, the MessagePad 2100 packs expanded memory, enhanced speed and upgraded communications software. Nevertheless, the Newton’s fate is sealed. Steve Jobs, freshly returned to Apple, will scrap the product line within months.

Today in Apple history: Apple begins retail venture inside CompUSA

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Desiring more control over how Macs got sold, Apple turned to CompUSA.
Desiring more control over how Macs got sold, Apple turned to CompUSA.
Photo: Coolcaesar/Wikipedia CC

November 4: Today in Apple history: Apple CompUSA November 4, 1997: Apple unveils its plan to open small “store within a store” sections inside CompUSA outlets around the United States.

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

Today in Apple history: Dell PCs overtake Macs in education market

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eMac
At the turn of the century, some observers accused Steve Jobs of failing one of Apple's most popular markets.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

October 27: Today in Apple history: Dell PCs overtake Macs in education market October 27, 1999: Dell Computer overtakes Apple in the educational market, stealing Cupertino’s crown as the top company selling computers to U.S. schools.

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