Biting the apple
by Ellen McGirt, FORTUNE Magazine

(FORTUNE Magazine) - They were known as dropouts, artists, evangelists, geniuses, iconoclasts, pirates - and friends. Sometimes even best friends. The early team of four, which grew to dozens, wanted to make a personal computer easy enough for a civilian to use without fear or loathing and inexpensive enough to be affordable. But the happy few who worked on the Mac also saw in the new world of computing a potentially profound force. Their ultimate goal was to unleash, in themselves and others, limitless individual creativity.

The Mac team, headed by Apple (Research) co-founder Steve Jobs, operated like a superstealth startup within the company. Holed up in an ascetic, two-story building near a gas station dubbed the "Texaco Towers," the team was intensely competitive with other Apple divisions, such as the Lisa computer. Jobs set ridiculous deadlines: The caffeine-fueled software team once debugged for 48 hours straight rather than face him without having finished the task. There were epic battles and broken friendships - Jef Raskin, who started the Mac research project in 1979, got frustrated and left Apple in 1982. But Jobs' famous rebel yell - "It's better to be a pirate than join the Navy" - captured the renegade spirit that saw the team through 90-hour work- weeks at stunningly low pay.

In 1983, after three years of labor, the Mac was born. Priced at $2,495, it featured a clean, intuitive graphic user interface that allowed nonprogrammers to use it almost instantly, without geek supervision. When it was turned on, a friendly little icon smiled out at the world. And the world smiled back - the Mac sold faster than any PC that came before. Although the Mac went on to a difficult adolescence, it was the collective expression of the people who loved it - and marked a turning point in the history of the PC. Top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.