Thirty-six years ago today, a startup called Apple Computer, Inc. went public. As part of the process, it published a prospectus—available in PDF form here—and talked about its product lines, successes, and challenges.
I was especially struck by this competitive analysis:
The company expects intense competition from several substantially larger firms which have entered or are expected to enter the personal computer market, including Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM, Texas Instruments, and various Japanese manufacturers, all of which have considerably greater financial, marketing and technological resources than the company. In addition…the company anticipates competing more directly with…other large domestic and foreign manufacturing concerns, such as Xerox Corporation, Exxon Corporation and Wang Laboratories…
Exxon did get into the PC business in the early 1980s. Then it got out again. Some of the other PC companies that the prospectus mentions have also come and gone—most notably IBM—along with countless others. Which means that when you tally up Apple’s accomplishments over its 40-year history, it’s worth celebrating the fact that it’s the only PC maker of 1980 that’s still making them today.