Apr 17 2014

A Three-Minute History of Apple

A look at the storied history of one of the world's most successful technology companies.

Starting with Apple’s humble beginnings in April 1976 and ending with its current status as a tech titan, this video run-through of the company’s history holds a notable lesson for federal agencies.

The company's first big success came in 1977, with the Apple II personal computer, which eventually sold 2 million units that had what now seems like a pitiful 1 MHz processor. As the 1980s began, Apple went public and exceeded a billion dollars in sales for the first time.

But while the company's history is rich with accolades, it's good to remember that there were a few stumbles along the way. The 1983 release of the "Lisa" personal computer ended in disaster, selling just 11,000 units. The Lisa certainly boasted a suite of advancements, including more RAM, a numeric keypad and a higher-resolution display.

But the Lisa’s $9,995 price tag (more than $23,500 in today's dollars) was far too much for many customers, beyond NASA, which became one of the few organizations to adopt the new computer.

Apple eventually phased out the Lisa in favor of the Macintosh, which left NASA in the lurch.

NASA's dependence on the Lisa serves as a valuable lesson for agencies without contingency plans, a lesson that's resurfacing in the wake of Microsoft's cessation of Windows XP support.

Just look at what happened to the Internal Revenue Service, which has been left with more than 50,000 computers running the defunct operating system.

Check out the video below from 24 Motion Design.

<p>Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Thinkstock</p>

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