Apple’s 1976 marketing plan included Apple Retail Stores

“Apple opened its first retail stores in May 2001, but it turns out the idea for the tech giant’s shopping hubs came 25 years earlier,” Richard Nieva reports for CNET. “Regis McKenna, the legendary Silicon Valley marketing guru, talked about his first meeting with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak back in 1976, during a fireside chat Thursday at the Computer History Museum here.”

“The pair came in looking for someone to help market the Apple II. During the meeting, McKenna rubbed Woz the wrong way and hit it off with Jobs. McKenna initially turned down Apple’s business and showed them the door,” Nieva reports. “‘Steve [Jobs] called back probably 40 times that night,’ McKenna said.”

“Jobs and McKenna had dinner and talked about what the future of Apple could look like, and McKenna signed on,” Nieva reports. “Eventually McKenna drafted an eight-page marketing plan in December 1976. Lo and behold, what was written under ‘Distribution Channels?’ Apple stores.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


  1. I have to admit that I was massively wrong about Apple Stores. I remember the first time I heard Apple was going to open a store, I smugly thought “What is Steve Jobs thinking…hasn’t he seen what just happened to Gateway and isn’t he looking at how well Dell is doing”. Huge misstep I thought.

    Crow doesn’t taste as bad as you would think….

  2. Dedicated retail stores in the 80s probably wouldn’t have worked because of the unprecedented growth rate of cheap DOS and later Windows PCs. The retail venture might’ve even sapped crucial amounts of money right before they needed it to survive. People just plain didn’t understand computers and couldn’t appreciate Apple elegance–certainly not for an inflation-adjusted price of $2500 for the original $666 Apple, or almost $5000 (inflation adjusted) for the Apple ][.

    1. In the 70’s, not so much. In the early 80 I sold a boat load of Apples retail and to the education market for the Terrell Brothers, the ones that ordered the first 50 Apple II’s from Jobs.

      The grey market, mail order and the race to the bottom did eventually kill the retailers but an Apple store would have had a much better chance of making a go at it as their pricing was strictly regulated as it is now.

      1. It may very well have been that Apple retail stores would have been too great a burden on Apple in the dark years.

        It’s also possible that a strong retail presence in the late 80s and early 90s might have made consumer sales very difficult or impossible for DOS and Windows 3.1.

        1. Apples always had billions in the bank during the years that the retail stores may have been a burden, they were under represented in retail. A few Apple dedicated retailers and then everybody else with Apple shoved back in a dark corner.

          People go to Tiffany’s even though they don’t sell at other jewelers.

          It may have been tough but that would be more of a problem with the product line that the image of Apple.

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