By Claude Richli
If you had asked me when I was a kid, what is an apple culture, I would have answered: It’s where they grow apple; my grandparents had an apple orchard, and I could name the different apple varieties and I enjoyed taking a bite out of them.
But today, the word “apple” has taken a completely different connotation. Ask any kid what is Apple, and he is likely to tell you something connected with one of the largest corporations on the planet. And for good reasons: the brand Apple has become so ubiquitous, so pervasive that it is recognized as the most valued brand on earth: $98.3 billion. That is 23 times the GDP of Montenegro, or twice that of Bulgaria, a much bigger country!! And this is just the brand. Its market capitalization in September was $650 billion, more than the total economy of a wealthy country like Switzerland over the course of one year. And all of this started in a garage in Palo Alto less than 40 years ago, when a couple of young people barely out of their teenage years, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, started to assemble computers. In 1976, they came up with the Apple II computer, which became a runaway success, putting them on the path to stardom and wealth. Since then, it seems that the company with the apple logo conquered the universe, and became a whole universe in itself. It launched the MacIntosh in 1984, an “insanely great computer”, to quote Steve Jobs, which was meant to be as easy to operate as a telephone. In fact, its advertising showed that all you needed to operate it was the index finger, in order to click on a mouse. For those of us who are too young to remember that time, you need to know that what we take for granted today – the mouse – was revolutionary back then. Steve Jobs did not invent the mouse, Xerox did. But Jobs was the first one to see its tremendous implications, and he went on to launch what was touted as “The computer for the rest of us”.