This Day in History (9-Jan-2007) – Steve Jobs debuts the iPhone

In April 2003 at the “All Things Digital” executive conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs expressed his belief that tablet PCs and traditional PDAs were not good choices as high-demand markets for Apple to enter, despite many requests made to him that Apple create another PDA. He did believe that cell phones were going to become important devices for portable information access, and that what cell phones needed to have was excellent synchronization software. At the time, instead of focusing on a follow-up to their Newton PDA, Jobs had Apple put its energies into the iPod, and the iTunes software (which can be used to synchronize content with iPod devices). On September 7, 2005, Apple and Motorola released the ROKR E1, the first mobile phone to use iTunes. Jobs was unhappy with the ROKR, feeling that having to compromise with a non-Apple designer (Motorola) prevented Apple from designing the phone they wanted to make. In September 2006, Apple discontinued support for the ROKR and released a version of iTunes that included references to an as-yet unknown mobile phone that could display pictures and video.

On 9th Jan 2007, At the Macworld convention in San Francisco Steve Jobs offered public the first glimpse of what he introduced as three devices in one: a touchscreen iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. As he spoke, “Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone…are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone. Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone.” The device was launched six months later.

In November 2007—by which point more than 1.4 million iPhones had been sold—Time magazine named the sleek, 4.8-ounce device, originally available in a 4GB, $499 model and an 8GB, $599 model, its invention of the year. The iPhone went on sale in parts of Europe in late 2007, and in parts of Asia in 2008. In July 2008, Apple launched its online App Store, enabling people to download software applications that let them use their iPhones for games, social networking, travel planning and an every growing laundry list of other activities.


This Day in History (4-Apr-1975) – Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen

Childhood friends, Paul Allen and Bill Gates were total computer geeks in an age when any access to computers was hard to come by. Allen and Gates skipped classes to live and breathe in their school’s computer room. Eventually, they hacked the school’s computer but instead of expulsion, the duo were offered unlimited computer time in exchange for helping to improve the computer’s performance. Bill Gates and Paul Allen even ran their own small company called Traf-O-Data and sold a computer to the city of Seattle for counting city traffic.

In 1973, Bill Gates left Seattle to attend Harvard University as a pre-law student. However, Gate’s first love never left him, as he spent most of his time in Harvard’s computer center where he kept improving his programming skills. Soon Paul Allen moved to Boston as well, pressuring Gates to quit Harvard so that the team could work full-time together on their projects. Bill Gates quit Harvard.

In January 1975, Paul Allen read an article about the Altair 8800 microcomputer in Popular Electronics magazine.  Bill Gates called MITS, the makers of the Altair, and offered his and Paul Allen’s services to write a version of the new BASIC programming language for the Altair. In eight weeks, Allen and Gates were able to demonstrate their program to MITS, who agreed to distribute and market the product under the name of Altair BASIC.

The Altair deal inspired Gates and Allen to form their own software company, and Microsoft was started on April 4, 1975, with Bill Gates as the first CEO. In July 1975, Bill Gates used the name “Micro-soft” (the combination of the words microprocessor and software) in a letter to Paul Allen to refer to their partnership. The name was registered. By 1978, Microsoft excced $1m sell. Microsoft rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by Microsoft Windows. As of now, Microsoft is market dominant in both the PC-compatible operating system and office software suite markets. In November, 2014, Microsoft became the 2nd most valuable company by market capitalization, behind only Apple Inc. with total market value over $410B.