Steve Jobs January 13

AAPL: 97.39

-2.57
Stock Chart

Phil Schiller said in 2013 that “education is in Apple’s DNA,” and it’s no exaggeration. The company’s commitment to the education sector was there from the very beginning. Steve Jobs told the Smithsonian that he wanted to donate a computer to every school in the U.S. as long ago as 1979.

I thought if there was just one computer in every school, some of the kids would find it. It will change their life. We saw the rate at which this was happening and the rate at which the school bureaucracies were deciding to buy a computer for the school and it was real slow. We realized that a whole generation of kids was going to go through the school before they even got their first computer so we thought the kids can’t wait. We wanted to donate a computer to every school in America.

The company couldn’t afford it in those days, but Steve lobbied Congress to introduce a bill that would have created sufficient tax breaks to make it possible. That attempt failed, but Apple did succeed in brokering a tax deal in California that saw the company donate an Apple IIe to every school in California. Apple led the PC market in education for a time, and even created education-specific Mac models.

More recently, Apple appeared set to bring its educational success into the iPad era in 2013 when it announced a $30M deal (that would eventually have been worth a quarter of a billion dollars) to equip every student in the LA Unified School District with an iPad. If that program had succeeded, it would have created a template for rolling out similar ones across the whole of the USA. Instead, it failed catastrophically, and it now appears that Chromebooks are winning where iPads have failed …

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Steve Jobs January 12

AAPL: 99.96

1.43
Stock Chart

Steve Jobs January 11

AAPL: 98.53

1.57
Stock Chart

The movie Steve Jobs last night won two of the four Golden Globes awards for which it was nominated. Aaron Sorkin picked up the award for Best Screenplay, and Kate Winslet won Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. However, Michael Fassbender lost out to Leonardo DiCaprio in Best Performance by an Actor. Daniel Pemberton, who wrote the score for the movie, was also beaten by Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight.

Fassbender being beaten to the best actor award by DiCaprio had a certain degree of irony: DiCaprio had previously been offered and turned down the title role in Steve Jobs.

Despite claiming to be lost for words, Sorkin managed a wry acknowledgement of the fact that the movie bombed at the box office …

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Steve Jobs January 8

AAPL: 96.96

0.51
Stock Chart

Steve Jobs December 31, 2015

AAPL: 105.26

-2.06
Stock Chart

The view that Apple lost its innovative edge with the sad loss of Steve Jobs has been one of the oft-repeated criticisms of the company in recent years. But this idea is based on an entirely mythological view of Apple as a company that was constantly launching ground-breaking new product categories.

The reality is a little more mundane. The Macintosh, a truly revolutionary computer, was launched in 1984. We had to wait 17 years for the next groundbreaking product: the iPod in 2001. We had to wait six years after that for the next major product category: the iPhone in 2007. And a further three years for the iPad in 2010. (If you wanted to push things a little, you could argue that the MacBook Air was also so revolutionary that it deserves to be included; if so, we’re up to five new product categories in 26 years.)

Note, too, that none of the product categories were invented by Apple. Xerox, of course, invented the graphical user interface for personal computers. There were MP3 players before the iPod; touchscreen smartphones before the iPhone; tablets before the iPad. What Apple did in each case was what the company does best: take something clunky and used only by techies, and turn it into a slick product that will appeal to the masses.

So no, Apple never has churned out revolutionary new products on an annual basis. If we’re going to assess its performance today, it has to be against a realistic background. Zac recently reminded us of Apple’s product timeline for 2015. Looking at this in the context of a company whose true history is occasionally taking a new product category and doing it better than anyone else – and in between times merely refining its existing product ranges – how did Apple do this year … ?

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Steve Jobs December 30, 2015

AAPL: 107.32

-1.42
Stock Chart

Apple, which was accused by the Italian government of failing to declare more than $1.3B of income when paying corporation tax in the country, has now agreed to pay the full €318M ($347M) claimed by the Italian tax office. The company has 16 Apple Stores in Italy.

Apple was accused of funnelling profits from Italian sales through its Irish subsidiary in order to benefit from the lower tax rate the company had agreed there. (Those tax arrangements are the subject of a separate EU investigation.)

La Repubblica (via The Local) reports Apple Italia was listed as a “consultant” for Apple Ireland, enabling the company to book profits through Ireland, paying just 2.5% tax under the terms of an agreement said to have first been reached with Steve Jobs back in the 1980s …

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