Today, in this article, we will explore in detail how exactly Apple managed to become so big, which is America’s first trillion-dollar company. Apple’s valuation has already crossed one trillion dollars in August, 2020. Let us dive deep into the incredible journey from a one hundred-million-dollar company to a one trillion-dollar company.
Apple was invented on December 12th, 1980, the day when it went public and got listed on the stock market. They were able to sell 4.6 million shares at twenty-two dollars a piece, which meant at that time, Apple was worth 101.2 million dollars. In just four years after inventing it, Apple had accomplished quite a bit, making people so many people buy Apple stock at that time.
Apple released Apple I, Apple II, and Apple III with revenue increasing by 533% every year. Which means by 1980, Apple was generating $118 million in revenue annually. And this kind of growth was definitely something investors wanted to look forward to, and it was a very high level of anticipation of Apple becoming listed on the stock market. So, when it finally happened, investors jumped at the opportunity.
When things were going well during 80s, something big happened in 1985 which had a destabilizing effect on Apple’s market value. Steve Jobs was forced out of the company by then Apple CEO John Sculley and this was a very intense situation since Sculley was actually brought on to Apple by Steve Jobs himself.
Sculley had previously served as Pepsi’s CEO, and Jobs thought he had the business expertise to take Apple to the next level, as he had done at Pepsi. Sculley initially declined the offer, but Jobs was persistent and eventually won Sculley over but things didn’t turn out the way Jobs had hoped. John Sculley and Apple’s board of directors felt Jobs leadership was detrimental to the company, since the Macintosh group he was heading turned out to be a financial failure. Jobs gave his letter of resignation and left Apple; he was heartbroken and devastated. After this, Jobs departure from Apple was highly publicized and Apple’s stock dipped slightly before bouncing back in ’86 and spiking in 1987. Apple then underwent a reorganization during this time and their business model shifted from lower profit-margin computers aimed at consumers to high profit-margin computers aimed at the pro market.
And although Apple raised the prices of their newer Macintosh computers, it didn’t affect their total sales since pro users were eager to take advantage of the most powerful technology available at the time. But this business model wasn’t sustainable as PC makers released their own desktop computers that offered nearly the same functionality of the Macintosh but at much lower price points. This led to a 20% drop in Apple’s share price at the end of 1989, as it was their first holiday season that saw declining sales.
Now Apple decided something had to change, so their business model shifted yet again in the early 90’s, this time back to Jobs original vision of selling low-cost, low-margin consumer products and aiming for high sale volumes. This initially went well for the company as they released lower-cost computers like the Macintosh LC that sold well due to the high demand for lower-cost computers from the company. But Apple took things too far which didn’t turn out well. Sculley bet a portion of the company on the Newton, but it failed to deliver on its promises, and this string of disappointments led to Sculley’s eventual departure from the company, replaced by Michael Spindler. But Apple couldn’t seem to recover from the damage that had been done, no matter who was CEO. Their sales fell, so did their share price. Spindler was replaced as CEO by Gil Amelio in 1996, and this began Apple’s downward spiral that everyone assumed would lead to the end of the company.
But in 1997 Apple made a surprising move. They bought the computer company called NeXT. But it wasn’t really for ownership of the company’s hardware or software or patents, but rather for Steve Jobs himself. Since NeXT was the company Jobs founded after leaving Apple in 1985. Apple offered Jobs a role as interim CEO, essentially giving him power to reorganize Apple and get them back to being profitable again.
Now, when Jobs returned to the company, they were just ninety days from bankruptcy and Jobs himself admitted things were a lot worse than he thought. But with a little financial help from Microsoft and the release of the wildly successful iMac in 1998, Jobs was able to transform Apple into a company making money. And it was reflected in the company’s share price, growing in 2000.
After that, they kept their share price afloat through the early 2000’s with the release of the iPod in 2001 and iTunes Music Store in 2003. At this point, Apple’s valuation started to climb. And in early 2006, Apple announced the first Intel-based iMac and MacBook Pro models. Investors felt Apple has become a much more competitive company. So, their share price rose even further at the beginning of 2006, and this marked a very important milestone for Apple.
Because on Friday the 13th of January, the company’s market value surpassed Dell for the first time. And it was Dells CEO in 1997 who said Jobs should shut down Apple and return the money back to the shareholders. So, Steve Jobs was set on making Apple a more valuable company than Dell, and when it finally happened, he sent a brief email to Apple employees to commemorate the occasion.
Then 2007 was another year when Apple began their ascendancy to the $1 trillion-dollar valuation they’re at today, and it all happened with the introduction of the iPhone. The iPhone was probably the most revolutionary product Apple has ever made, and it’s definitely their most profitable. Even though iPhone sales in the early years of 2007 and 2008 don’t compare to the numbers today, it still provided Apple with a major source of revenue. But more importantly, it solidified Apple’s reputation in the tech industry as a pioneer of revolutionary technology that was unmatched by any other company. Investors believed Apple had a bright future ahead.
Now, during 2010, things started blooming more, with the release of the iPad. And although the product wasn’t perceived to be as revolutionary as the iPhone, Steve
Jobs called it the most important product he’d ever made. And customers seemed to agree since 300,000 iPads were sold on its first day of release, making it one of Apple’s best-selling products ever, ultimately causing their share price to rise even higher.
But something major was about to happen that very few people expected. A year later, in 2011, Steve Jobs resigned as Apple’s CEO, appointing Tim Cook in his place.
This created a stir in the tech and investment communities. Despite this uncertainty, Apple’s share price continued to rise during this period, until the end of 2012, when the iPhone and iPad began to lose their shine. The company experienced a sharp drop in their share price, likely because the iPhone 5s was losing out to its competitors which featured larger displays. But Apple met the competition head-on in 2014 with the introduction of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. And they were a huge hit, especially in China. There was clearly pent-up demand for an iPhone with a larger display, and thanks to that demand, iPhone sales rose to $155 billion and share prices rose with it.
So, Apple’s valuation remained strong until 2016 when quarterly profit fell by 27% due to a slowdown in iPhone sales. And Apple’s share price reflected these disappointing earnings by dipping to a two-and-a-half-year low. But just like in 2014 with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, another iPhone was introduced and saved the day. The iPhone X. It lifted the average selling price of an iPhone to a new record and also the share price. And after Apple reported excellent third-quarter earnings this year that exceeded expectations, their share price rose once again. Apple’s market value ended up crossing the one trillion-dollar mark.