The Macintosh (pronounced as MAK-in-tosh; branded as Mac since 1998) is a family of personal computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Inc. since January 1984. The original Macintosh was the company's first mass-market personal computer that featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse. Apple sold the Macintosh alongside its popular Apple II family of computers for almost ten years before the latter was cancelled in 1993. Early Macintosh models were expensive, hindering its competitiveness in a market already dominated by the Commodore 64 for consumers, as well as the IBM Personal Computer and its accompanying clone market for businesses. Macintosh systems still found success in education and desktop publishing and kept Apple as the second-largest PC manufacturer for the next decade. In the early 1990s, Apple introduced models such as the Macintosh LC II and Color Classic, which were price-competitive with Wintel machines at the time. However, the introduction of Windows 3.1 and Intel's Pentium processor (which beat the Motorola 68040 in most benchmarks) gradually took market share from Apple, and by the end of 1994, Apple was relegated to third place as Compaq became the top PC manufacturer. Even after the transition to the superior PowerPC-based Power Macintosh line in the mid-1990s, the falling prices of commodity PC components, poor inventory management with the Macintosh Performa, and the release of Windows 95 saw the Macintosh user base decline. Prompted by the returning Steve Jobs' belief that the Macintosh line had become too complex, Apple consolidated nearly twenty models in mid-1997 (including models made for specific regions) down to four in mid-1999: the Power Macintosh G3, iMac, 14.1" PowerBook G3, and 12" iBook.
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