The Apple stock just turned 40 – $22 invested in 1980 is worth $15,200 today

  • Apple went public in 1980, offering 4.6 million shares at $22 each.
  • Apple’s current market cap stands at $1.2 trillion, increasing by 69,000% since it went public.
  • An investment of $22 in Apple in 1980 is now worth $15,200.
Apple went public back in 1980, and at the time, it was one of the biggest tech IPOs. Even so, hardly anyone would have guessed that Apple would end up being one of the most valuable companies in the world.

On its debut, Apple’s share price surged by 32% to end up at $29 per share. It had floated 4.6 million shares at $22 per share. So, if you had invested in one share of Apple at $22 in 1980, you would have had 56 shares now. Your $22 investment would have grown to $15,200 today. That is a whopping return of 69,000% over the course of the past 29 years.

That being said, Apple’s journey so far has not been smooth. As is the case with every company, Apple has had its share of ups and downs. As the Apple stock turns 40, let’s take a look at some of the key milestones that Apple hit along the way.
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1 April, 1976 – Apple is founded

1 April, 1976 – Apple is founded

Jobs and Woz working out of Jobs’ parents’ garage

Two friends, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, came together to found Apple in 1976. Jobs had to sell his van and Wozniak his calculator before they could get started on building their first product.

1977 – Apple II is launched

1977 – Apple II is launched

Apple II computer with an external modem (Source: Wikimedia)

Apple took the personal computer mainstream with the launch of the Apple II in 1977. The Apple II would come in a plastic case and had colour graphics. It was so popular that Apple produced it for the next seventeen years. It was selling around 5-6 million units in 1993 when it was finally discontinued it.

The success of Apple II would eventually help Apple in going public in 1980.

1980 – Apple goes public

1980 – Apple goes public

The first Apple logo, drawn by Ronald Wayne, depicts Isaac Newton under an apple tree (Source: Wikimedia)

Apple’s offer price was fixed at $22 per share. But it initially planned to list its shares starting at $14. By the end of the day, the share price increased to $29, marking a 32% increase.

1984 – The Macintosh computer is launched

1984 – The Macintosh computer is launched

The Macintosh, released in 1984, is the first mass-market personal computer to feature an integral graphical user interface and mouse (Source: Wikimedia)

The launch of the original Macintosh personal computer in 1984 revolutionized the world of personal computers. It came with a graphical user interface, and although Apple wasn’t the first one to do so, it has had a profound effect on personal computing since then.

1985 – Steve Jobs gets ousted from Apple

1985 – Steve Jobs gets ousted from Apple

Steve Jobs and John Sculley (Source: Business Insider)

Wozniak was the first to leave Apple stating that the company had "been going in the wrong direction for the last five years" and sold most of his stock. Soon after, in one of the most dramatic events in Apple’s history, Jobs was ousted from the company he co-founded less than a decade ago.

In a dispute between the then Apple CEO John Sculley and Steve Jobs, the Apple board sided with Sculley.

1987 – Apple announces its first stock split

1987 – Apple announces its first stock split

John Sculley (Source: Doug Menuez)

Apple announced its first stock split in 1987, offering two shares for every one share held. At the time of the split, the value of each share was $83. If you had invested $22 in Apple in 1980, it would now be worth $83 by then.

1996 – Apple acquires NeXT and brings Jobs back

1996 – Apple acquires NeXT and brings Jobs back

Steve Jobs (Source: Business Insider)

After leaving Apple in 1985, Jobs co-founded NeXT Computers. A decade later, Apple ended up acquiring NeXT Computer in 1996 for $400 million and also brought Jobs back to the company.

1997 – Arch-rival Microsoft infuses $150 million into Apple, Jobs becomes the CEO

1997 – Arch-rival Microsoft infuses $150 million into Apple, Jobs becomes the CEO

Bill Gates addresses the 1997 Macworld Expo with Steve Jobs on stage (Source: Business Insider)

After Michael Spindler failed to sell Apple to IBM and Sun Microsystems, the company announced that it is getting an infusion of $150 million from its arch-rival Microsoft. Within a month’s time, Apple announced that Steve Jobs would be the interim CEO of the company.

1998 – The first iMac is unveiled

1998 – The first iMac is unveiled

The original iMac (Source: Stephen Hackett)

Apple announced the first iMac within a year of Jobs becoming the CEO. Bringing colour and translucent design to computers, the iMac was a successful launch that helped Jobs turn around the fortunes of Apple which was on the verge of being sold just a year ago.

2000 – Apple announces its second stock split

2000 – Apple announces its second stock split

Apple's first headquarters at Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California (Source: Wikimedia)

Apple announced its second stock split in 2000, offering two shares for every one share held. At close of market, a $22 investment in 1980 would end up being worth $405 in 2000. Each shareholder would now have four shares of Apple as against the 1 share in 1980.

2001 – The iPod is launched

2001 – The iPod is launched

The original iPod (Source: ArsTechnica)

Apple launched the iPod in 2001, changing the music industry forever. Like its previous products, Apple was not the first to make a digital player, but it soon became the most popular one. While the first iMac gave Apple a fighting chance, the iPod would drive its renaissance.

2005 – Apple announces its third stock split

2005 – Apple announces its third stock split

Line at the opening of first Apple Store in America (Source: Wikimedia)

Apple announced its third stock split in 2005, yet again in the ratio of 2:1. If you started out with 1 share in 1980, you would now have 8 shares.

2007 – The iPhone is launched

2007 – The iPhone is launched

Steve Jobs launching the first iPhone (Source: Business Insider)

Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007. In a prophetic manner, Jobs claimed that Apple would “reinvent the phone”. He couldn’t have been more right – the iPhone changed the smartphone industry forever.

The rest, as they say, is history.

2010 – The iPad is launched

2010 – The iPad is launched

Steve Jobs launching the first iPad (Source: Business Insider)

After revolutionizing the music and smartphone industries, Apple launched the iPad in 2010. Offering a big display in a sleek form factor, the iPad helped Apple capture 84% share in the tablet market by the end of the year.

April, 2011 – Apple sues Samsung for infringing on its intellectual property

April, 2011 – Apple sues Samsung for infringing on its intellectual property

(Left to right) Apple store in LA and Samsung headquarters in Japan (Source: Wikimedia)

In what was one of the biggest lawsuits filed in the tech industry at the time, Apple sued its supplier Samsung. In a 38-page complaint filed in the US, Apple claimed that Samsung infringed on its intellectual property. Samsung soon counter-sued Apple in South Korea.

Although both Apple and Samsung claimed billions of dollars against each other in damages, the case was finally resolved in 2018, seven years after the start of the dispute. Apple was awarded $539 million in damages.

August, 2011 – Tim Cook takes over as Apple CEO

August, 2011 – Tim Cook takes over as Apple CEO

Tim Cook says he still has Jobs’ number saved in his phone

Jobs handed over the reins of Apple to Tim Cook in August, 2011. The company formally announced Tim Cook’s appointment as the CEO and elected him to its board. Jobs passed away in October, 2011, after fighting a long battle against pancreatic cancer.

2014 – Apple Watch and another stock split

2014 – Apple Watch and another stock split

The first Apple Watch (Source: Business Insider)

The Apple Watch was the first new product line to be announced after the death of Steve Jobs. In the years since, the Apple Watch has helped Apple grab the lion’s share in the smartwatch space with a share of 48% in Q3 2019.

Apple also announced its fourth stock split in the same year, this time offering seven shares for each share held. If you had 1 share in 1980, you would now have 56 shares. Your $22 investment would now have increased to $5,247.

2018 – Apple hits $1 trillion market cap

2018 – Apple hits $1 trillion market cap

Apple finally hits the magical $1 trillion mark

Apple hit the $1 trillion market cap for the first time in 2018. Although there have been a few ups and downs since then, currently, Apple’s market cap stands at $1.2 trillion, comfortably placed above the magical margin of $1 trillion.

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