The simple answer is that during this period Apple managed to introduce a series of four monumental products and services—the iPod, iTunes, the Apple Store, and the iPhone and iPad—that created not only new industries but also entirely new multibillion-dollar market categories.
To understand how Apple did this, we need to appreciate the real contributions of Apple’s cofounder Steve Jobs, who had been out of the company for twelve years, and who returned at the beginning of this historic era in the company’s history. It was, in fact, a wiser and more confident Steve Jobs who took command of Apple for the second time in 1997. And though he remained the same mercurial, rash, dangerously unpredictable, and impetuous Steve Jobs who had been driven out of Apple in 1985, he had learned two important pieces of wisdom in the interim: (1) Build a company that rewards risk rather than punishes it; and (2) Never forget that all successful enterprises, no matter how big and wealthy, are an aggregation of teams large and small, loyal and renegade, stabilizing and anarchistic, from the lowliest engineers to executive row—all of them working, sometimes in harmony and sometimes at cross-purposes, toward the success of the company.