While most everyone is familiar with Apple Computers, a prominent and highly successful tech company, few know the details surrounding the company’s founding and rise to the pinnacle of the business world.

By reading through and understanding this information, one can better appreciate and recognize Apple’s long path to the top—a path that’s been filled with some challenges and many triumphs.

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs Leave College and Pursue Their Dream
Apple Computers was founded on 1 April 1976, when former college students Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs decided to take their vision of computers to the next level. Both men believed in bringing small and capable computers to homes and offices around the world. At the time, though, the technology required to optimize computers simply wasn’t there.

Jobs and Wozniak set out to change this fact, and the result of their initial efforts speaks for itself. Operating out of Jobs’s garage, the duo designed, developed, and released the Apple I, a technically powerful (for the time) computer that didn’t come with a mouse, case, or keyboard.

The Apple II
The turning point came around 1978, with the Apple II, a more user-friendly and accessible home computer. Sales neared $8 million in 1978, and in 1980, when Apple went public, close to $120 million worth of products were sold.

Sales continued to rise through the 1980s and into the early 1990s. Steve Wozniak departed Apple in 1983, having grown tired of the day-to-day rigors of managing a company (as opposed to developing software), and Jobs ultimately left the company as well.

Downturn and Revival
By the mid-1990s, Apple’s outlook was discouraging, to say the least. Mismanagement had come in the wake of Jobs’s exit, and financial professionals believed that Apple would soon be forced to close its doors. Steve Jobs returned to the company (after Apple purchased his own brand, NeXT) and, as CEO, made a series of intelligent moves that eventually produced major commercial success.

The iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, amongst many other devices, resulted in Apple Computers becoming one of the most popular and respected companies in the world—and much, much more than the home-computer company that was started by two friends in 1976.

Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, at the age of 56, from cancer-related complications. Steve Wozniak went on to work on a number of projects, and in 2017, he launched his own online school, Woz U.