By Jack Nicas
Aug. 2, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO — In 1997, Apple was on the ropes. The Silicon Valley pioneer was being decimated by Microsoft and its many partners in the personal-computer market. It had just cut a third of its work force, and it was about 90 days from going broke, Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, later said.
On Thursday, Apple became worth more than $1 trillion when its shares briefly climbed to $207.05, two days after the company announced the latest in a series of remarkably profitable quarters.
Apple’s ascent from the brink of bankruptcy to the world’s most valuable company has been a business tour de force, marked by rapid innovation, a series of smash-hit products and the creation of a sophisticated, globe-spanning supply chain that keeps costs down while producing enormous volumes of cutting-edge devices.
That ascent has also been marked by controversy and tragedy. Apple’s aggressive use of outside manufacturers in China, for example, has led to criticism that it is taking advantage of poorly paid workers in other countries and robbing Americans of good manufacturing jobs.
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