"The "1984" commercial certainly stood out from the ones with Bixby and Alda, a couple of older guys selling PCs that required users to type in cryptic commands to get anything done.
In Apple's (AAPL) ad, a woman with blond hair and a get-up like Olivia Newton-John might've worn in her Physical video, runs into a sci-fi setting packed with bald human drones who are listening to their leader address them on a giant TV. The aerobics woman, chased by storm trooper types, throws a sledgehammer through the screen.
Afterward, she no doubt gets arrested and tortured, but the commercial ends before that happens. (The suits at competitor IBM (IBM) should've made a response ad that picked up the story there.)
"I remember cheering when I saw the '1984' ad," says Steve Jurvetson, now a high-profile venture capitalist. At the time, he was a senior in high school in Dallas — a kid programming games for his Apple II. He got a Mac IIcx for college and pulled all-nighters writing code for classes. The Mac made him love computers, and he still uses a Mac at his firm.
"It was like I had discovered gold," says Jon Staenberg, another venture capitalist. He was so pumped by the Mac back then, he went to work at Microsoft (MSFT), which would try to replicate the heart of the Mac's magic: its graphical user interface, known as a GUI (and pronounced "gooey"). That effort became Windows.
In the United Kingdom, the Mac propelled Peter Cochrane, who bought one in 1984 when working at British Telecommunications. "It was like the difference between a ballpoint pen and a hammer and chisel," he says. "I had a real edge on just about everyone in my company." He went on to become BT's chief scientist, and is now a speaker, author and head of investment firm Concept Labs. "