Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. Its hardware products include the iPhone smartphone, the iPad tablet computer, the Mac personal computer, the iPod portable media player, the Apple Watch smartwatch, and the Apple TV digital media player. Apple’s consumer software includes the macOS and iOS operating systems, the iTunes media player, the Safari web browser, and the iLife and iWork creativity and productivity suites. Its online services include the iTunes Store, the iOS App Store and Mac App Store, and iCloud.
Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in April 1976 to develop and sell personal computers. It was incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc. in January 1977, and was renamed as Apple Inc. in January 2007 to reflect its shifted focus toward consumer electronics. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average in March 2015.
Apple is the world’s largest information technology company by revenue, the world’s largest technology company by total assets, and the world’s second-largest mobile phone manufacturer. In November 2014, in addition to being the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by market capitalization, Apple became the first U.S. company to be valued at over US$700 billion. The company employs 115,000 permanent full-time employees as of July 2015 and maintains 478 retail stores in seventeen countries as of March 2016. It operates the online Apple Store and iTunes Store, the latter of which is the world’s largest music retailer. There are over one billion actively used Apple products worldwide as of March 2016.
Apple’s worldwide annual revenue totaled $233 billion for the fiscal year ending in September 2015. This revenue generation accounts for approximately 1.25% of the total United States GDP.] The company enjoys a high level of brand loyalty and, according to Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands report, has been the world’s most valuable brand for 4 years in a row, with a valuation in 2016 of $178.1 billion. The corporation receives significant criticism regarding the labor practices of its contractors and its environmental and business practices, including the origins of source materials.
In August 2016, after a three-year investigation by the EU’s competition commissioner that concluded that Apple received “illegal state aid” from Ireland, the EU ordered Apple to pay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion), plus interest, in unpaid taxes.