My 10/17/10 Missoulian column
I remember way back when Apple was known as Apple Computer, and it got its big start with the Apple IIe personal computer, which I worked with in high school. Many of us in the early 1980s were in awe of those early computers, with multiple floppy drives grinding away and the color graphics we could program.
That’s a long way from Apple these days, with iPhone and MacBooks and the iPads, right? Apple is now a business and technology powerhouse, with a market capitalization of hundreds of billions, greater even than Microsoft. And Apple’s stock just hit an all-time high last week. (NYTimes.com)
But it wasn’t a straight line from the 1980s to now. In the mid-1990s, Apple was hanging on the ropes, about to get knocked out for good after the golden era of the Apple IIe ended and newer Macintosh products flopped.
Then the first iMac came out in 1998, that blue one, all rounded and colorful, not like the beige boxes from all the other manufacturers. And suddenly, Apple looked alive again.
At the time, someone in the market for a new computer asked me if he should buy one of the new iMacs. He was a long time Apple user, but was worried about Apple surviving and he being stuck on a platform no one wanted anymore. He even asked if he should keep his Apple stock.
Some of the reasons for Apple stock hitting an all time high last week? iPad sales, iPhone rumors and an upcoming new OS X version.
The “rumors” of a Verizon iPhone are even stronger now, with the Wall Street Journal.com saying it’s a done deal for 2011, in line with Verizon introducing a new network that’s better for the iPhone. Adding fuel to the Verizon iPhone story is the fact that Verizon stores will begin selling the iPad in a few weeks.
And Apple is holding an event next week called “Back to the Mac” in order to (probably) introduce a new version of OS X, among other new products and updates other than for the iPhone and iPad.
And that person who asked me about staying with Apple? I don’t know if he held his stock, but against my advice he bought Windows instead of a blue iMac. And he regretted it.
I wish I had bought some Apple stock way back when. Then I could be one of the whining stockholders in the news (TheStreet.com), complaining that Apple needs to pay a dividend rather than hold onto $40 billion in cash.
Mark Ratledge is an information technology consultant. His website is markratledge.com.
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