Apple is the most successful company ever. Period.
You can argue over whether it is first and foremost a tech innovator or business model innovator or marketing firm, but you cannot dispute it’s incomparable success.
Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne on April 1, 1976. Wayne would sell his 10% share back to the other two for $800 a few weeks later mostly out of fears of partnership liability for debts that Apple might incur.
After initial success and IPO, internal fighting and hits and misses with computer product releases, Jobs was forced out. For a decade, experienced executives developed structure and a foundation for a stable company, but ultimately Jobs was brought back in 1997 to restore vision, purpose, and profitability to Apple.
In 2007, riding on massive success, especially the advent of iTunes and the iPod (2001), Apple dropped the word Computer from their name and entered the mobile electronics market. iPhone-mania would sweep the world, seeing people line up for days to purchase a device. This past quarter, iPhones represented over 60% of Apple’s $50 billion revenue.
Steve Jobs died ofrespiratory arrestrelated toa pancreatic neuroendocrine tumoron October 5, 2011.
For more info on Apple, see the Wikipedia entry. For more info on Jobs, see the Wikipedia entry.