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Last seen in 1998, Apple’s Claris software brand is back

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Two decades ago, Apple was a troubled company in a time of upheaval. Cofounder Steve Jobs, who had officially returned as interim CEO in September 1997, had a plan to return it to health. And a big part of his strategy involved abandoning an array of efforts that he didn’t deem essential.

Among the businesses that Apple wound down were most of the activities of Claris, an 11-year-old subsidiary that offered a full portfolio of productivity applications for both Macs and Windows PCs, including ClarisWorks, ClarisDraw, Claris Organizer, and more. In January 1998, Apple laid off 300 Claris staffers and turned the remnants into FileMaker, a much smaller operation focused on the cross-platform database software FileMaker Pro.

The downsizing was controversial at the time, but worked out well. Third-party developers provided Macs with the productivity software they needed (including Microsoft, which had invested $150 million in Apple and committed to continued investment in Office for the Mac the previous August). And FileMaker, though a tiny, low-profile part of the Apple empire, has been a consistently successful one, racking up more than 80 back-to-back quarters of profitability. Today, it has a million users at 50,000 companies, including many small- and medium-sized businesses but also 95% of the Fortune 500.

Now FileMaker is ready to broaden its horizons past its........

© Fast Company