How Apple Turned Into IBM: A Story of How Apple Lost Its Identity

Aditya Saravana
3 min readJan 31


Photo by Benjamin Child on Unsplash (Edited)

It’s 1960, and computers are starting to make their rise. Colleges are buying massive, room-sized units that can perform basic math hundreds of times faster than any student could from the flagship company of computers, IBM. After tripling employees in a single decade, IBM has gone from a decently sized business to one of the overlord-like megacorporations that loom over all of us.

Fast forward sixteen years and a new startup was created that no one was expecting would go on to overthrow the biggest computer corporation in all of America, and possibly the world.

Apple Computers was founded in 1976 in the bedroom of a young teen’s house in Los Altos, California. Steve Jobs, and his cofounder, Steve Wozniak, had created a computer, named the Apple I. It wasn’t anything like what we have today. It looked like a gutted fish.

Even the wooden shell in the background was a customization by the customer.

It took skill to assemble and make work, and a normal person, like the average computer user today, had no shot at using one. Then one person came along who changed the future of Apple and computing itself.

Mike Markkula grabbed the steering wheel of Apple, floored the accelerator, and began drag racing. With eight years under his guidance, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created the future of computers.

In 1984, the Macintosh was released.

The Macintosh.

To make a long story short, the Macintosh started a war between IBM and Apple. Eventually, Apple edged them out, being much more attractive to the public as the flashy startup they were rather than the generic suit-and-tie megacorp IBM happened to be. IBM was tossed aside, kicked out of the PC market, and left to niche business solutions.

If you look at the computer that shows your items in a checkout aisle at Walmart, it’s probably from IBM.

That didn’t stop Apple from continuing to change the world.

The iPod revolutionized the music industry, a Sony Walkman that could fit thousands of cassette tapes in your pocket.

Then the iPhone, decimating companies like Nokia and Motorola with their new touchscreen design.

Fast forward again to the present day. Apple lost its identity.

Its massive headquarters, deadweight employees, and excess of amenities are as generic as IBM’s suits, grey computers, and drab offices in 2022.

Every last Apple Event brings nothing new to the table, in a colorful but yet drab slush of

“Over (percentage) faster than our previous generation”,

“revolutionary new product”,

“at a price of only (extremely high and unreasonable price)”.

By the time Apple makes its way to an exciting new market, it’s already been covered by several other brands.

They gave us hope with the M1 chip, taking the computer industry to the next level again and ripping a large portion out of Intel’s sales.

Their redesigned MacBook Pro was just the MacBook the ones from 2016–2020 should have been.

And then they released the M2 models, basically the same computer with supposed better performance.

This is prime time for a startup like Apple used to be to overthrow the tech industry and change the future of computing yet again. The question is, which one will it be?

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Aditya Saravana

Stories and guides to indie development, software, and the tech industry.