Lessons from Great Comebacks – Apple bounces back from Bankruptcy

Apple’s turnover

Bordering on Bankruptcy in 1997, co-founder Steve Jobs returned to Apple. With the company losing money for 12 years, Jobs was brought in as interim CEO, tasked with sorting out a company sized mess. So, how did he do it?

First things first

One of Jobs’s first decisions was to scrap the ‘ahead of its time in theory but not so great in practice’ Apple Newton message pad.

Solutions

The $150 million bail out from Microsoft was announced at the ‘97 Macworld Expo. Jobs explained in a speech that ‘to get Apple healthy and prospering again’ there were some things that needed to be let go of. Also announced was an updated version of Microsoft office for the Mac.

Mixed reactions

Jobs received both cheers and boos for this brave decision that would end up saving the company and enabling it to eventually create the famous iPhone that dominates the market today. 

Road to recovery

Apple was still struggling but hope was in sight when the 1998 iMac was brought out, with colourful translucent sides, the inner workings of the computer were visible. The boring beige computer was re-invented and the iMac sold over 800,000 units within the first five months, meaning that for the first time since 1995, Apple was making a profit. According to Funding Universe, the company reportedly saw a profit of 309 million in 1998.

Changes

In 2000 the Powerbook G4 was announced, along with the iPod in 2001, which paved the way for Apple’s move from office supplies to personal electronics, eventually resulting in the first iPhone in 2007. Then came the App store, and iTunes and Apple music, even Apple TV. The rest, as we know, is history…

For the future

Apple’s story shows that hard but brave decisions can turn situations around. They let go of things that weren’t working and put more effort into areas they could prosper. They bounced back so well, now nobody even remembers they were struggling.  

Contributing Advisors