Analysis

If You’d Invested $1,000 in Apple Stock 27 Years Ago, Here’s How Much You’d Have Today

Steve Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997 led to one of the most remarkable stock growth stories in history.

Apple (AAPL -1.62%) stock has experienced many struggles since its 1980 IPO. After its board fired Steve Jobs in 1985, the company spent years in the wilderness. It suspended its dividend payout in 1996, and was close to bankruptcy when it brought Jobs back in 1997.

Shortly after that, Apple stock began a run that made it one of the most successful stocks in history, illustrating how innovation can dramatically improve a company’s fortunes.

Apple’s stock growth since Jobs’ return

If one had bought $1,000 in Apple stock when Jobs returned in February 1997 and held on until today, that position would be worth around $1.8 million. That figure assumes this hypothetical investor would have reinvested their income from the dividend, which Apple reinstated in 2012.

AAPL Total Return Level data by YCharts.

Jobs’ first major move after returning was to integrate the Mac ecosystem with the broader tech world, convincing Microsoft to invest $150 million in Apple and develop and support a Mac-compatible version of its popular Office software.

He also set to build an Apple ecosystem, revamping the Macintosh, launching the iMac in 1998, and following up with a new MacOS in 2001. The company gained additional traction by launching the iPod music player in 2001, and opening Apple Stores and the iTunes Store soon after.

However, the innovation that truly transformed Apple was the iPhone, which it launched in 2007. It pioneered the modern smartphone industry, and eventually eliminated many people’s need to own a PC. So successful was the iPhone that it drives the majority of Apple’s revenue to this day.

Apple’s pace of innovation slowed with the passing of Jobs in 2011. Now, it more directly competes with devices and apps using Alphabet‘s Android operating system and with most of its mega-tech competitors in the artificial intelligence field.

Nonetheless, its continued innovations have at times made it the world’s largest company by market cap, and positioned it in the top three today. Thanks to products such as the iPhone and its extensive ecosystem, Apple’s stock price should continue to grow.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Will Healy has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2026 $395 calls on Microsoft and short January 2026 $405 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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