Ronald Gerald Wayne is the pretty much unknown co-founder of Apple Computer, quite rightly over-shadowed by the two Steves: Jobs and Wozniak. Wayne worked with Steve Jobs at Atari, and was a pivotal figure in Apple’s incorporation.
He designed and drew Apple’s first logo (not the good one, the one showing Sir Isaac Newton under an apple tree), wrote the original Apple partnership agreement, and scripted the Apple I manual. His principal duties were for Mechanical Engineering and Documentation.
Jobs was impressed that Wayne had started his own company, selling slot machines, and wanted him on board to give Apple some “adult supervision”.
“Ron was an amazing guy. He started companies. I had never met anyone like that before,” he gushed.
20 years older than Jobs, and so with more to lose, Wayne got cold feet when he realised he was jointly responsible for any company debts. After just 11 days he quit Apple, selling his 10 percent stake in the company for $800. He later received a cheque for a further $1,500 for his agreement to forfeit any claims against Apple.
Had he stayed on, his 10 percent of Apple would have been worth many billions today.
“I made the best decision for me at the time,” he says now without throwing up or weeping openly.
“Both of them were real whirlwinds, and my stomach wasn’t ready for such a ride.”
When Apple bought Steve Jobs’ NeXT in 1996 it didn’t just get the NeXTStep operating system that went on to become Mac OS X. It also picked up NeXT’s WebObjects Java web application framework that forms the basis of its phenomenally successful online Apple Store and iTunes Store, as well as the less praised MobileMe services.
West Coast Computer Faire
This was one of the first technology expos, and its opening show in April 1977 featured the launch of the Apple II with the young Steves Wozniak and Jobs dressed up in sharp new suits. The olde-worldy spelling of "faire" is almost appropriate given the difference between 1977 tech and today's gadgets. There were only three Apple II computers actually in existence but ever-the-showman Jobs piled empty boxes around the prominent $5,000 show booth to make it appear many more were available.
Whole Earth Catalog
The Whole Earth Catalog was a counter-culture publication that sold all sorts of things to hippies. Steve Jobs was a big fan (calling it “Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along”), and borrowed its ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish’ catchphrase for his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005.
Apple has had some wonderfully named employees (take a bow Bud Tribble) but Randy Wigginton has one of the funniest names ever to grace an Apple business card. Wigginton was Apple employee #6, and was the creator of MacWrite and worked on the Apple II. He used to attend the Homebrew Computer Club, getting car rides with Steve Wozniak.
The other operating system that you can run on your Mac, Windows started life on November 20, 1985 as Microsoft’s copy of Apple’s Mac OS. Compared to the Mac OS Windows was horribly inferior. Apple sued Microsoft for copyright infringement but lost every time it went to court to prove that Bill Gates and co had simply stolen its technology.
It wasn’t until 1992’s Windows 3.1 that Microsoft’s graphical operating system got anywhere near the grace and functionality of the Mac OS. It was still a horror show in comparison to the Mac but that didn’t worry the millions of consumers and businesses that quickly made it the number one desktop OS.
Apple and Steve Jobs in particular never forgave Microsoft for taking the Mac’s Graphical User Interface crown, still making jibes against Windows when launching Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in 2005 with banners proclaiming “Redmond. Start your photocopiers”.
Microsoft remains the Apple aficionado’s arch-enemy because of its shameless copying of the Mac OS. But for a long time chipmaker Intel was also subject to Apple Fanboy fury for supplying the processors that ran the PCs that ran Windows. It was the eveil Wintel axis that all Mac maniacs would curse first thing every morning.
One of the most iconic covers of Wired magazine was its June 1997 Apple logo wrapped in barbed wire, with the coverline ‘Pray’ showcasing the story ‘101 Ways to Save Apple’ inside. Wired replaced the barbed wire with razor wire for its April 2008 cover on ‘How Apple Wins by breaking all the rules’.
Soon after the launch of the Macintosh in 1984 Steve Jobs purchased Jackling House in Woodside, California – where he lived for 10 years. Jobs wanted to demolish the house to build something more fitting with his rigorous aesthetics but was met by a local campaign that tied up his plans in court. At one stage Jobs was told he had to disassemble the house and rebuild it elsewhere, but in the end the whole building was torn down in February 2011 – eight months before Jobs died.
Edgar S. (“Ed”) Woolard served on Apple’s Board of Directors from 1996 to 2000, when he stepped down for “personal reasons”.
Woolard was recommended as an Apple board member by PR man Harold Burson to then Apple CEO Gil Amelio. In his book 'On the firing line: My 500 days at Apple' Amelio described “laid back” Woolard as "over six feet tall and slender" with a "very comforting 'Southern gentleman' manner and a boyish charm". In his book, 'Infinite Loop', however, Michael S Malone called Woolard a "fire-breather".
DuPont CEO Woolard certainly breathed fire in 1997 when he was instrumental in Amelio’s sacking, which allowed Steve Jobs to return to Apple’s top position. Tennis fanatic Woolard had earlier sounded out Jobs on Amelio, and persuaded him to return to the company if only as an “advisor”.
One of the first things Jobs did on his return was demand that all the Apple board members, except Woolard, resign.
“Woolard was one of the best board members I’ve ever see. He was a prince, one of the most supportive and wise people I’ve ever met,” said Jobs.
World Wide Web
Tim Berners-Lee wrote the very first web browser, called WorldWideWeb, on a computer made by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ NeXT.
If Steve Jobs is the cold, hard, mercilessly evil genius co-founder of Apple then Steve Wozniak is the warm, cuddly, kind genius co-founder.
Woz (even his nickname is rotundly cosy) is a major figure at the start of the Apple story but literally crashes out not long after.
Stephen Gary Wozniak was introduced to Jobs by fellow Homestead High School pupil Bill Fernandez. The two Steves briefly worked together at Hewlett-Packard, and Jobs roped Woz in to help him design the game Breakout at Atari.
Outside of HP they attended the Homebrew Computer Club, where they showed off Woz’s Apple I computer. The Apple I wasn’t a PC as we know them but it was a fully assembled circuit board. Users had to buy or build the case and add power supply, keyboard and display.
While Woz made the Apple I it was Jobs who proposed selling it. To finance the Apple I Jobs sold his VW van and Woz flogged his HP-65 calculator.
Together, with Ron Wayne, they founded Apple in April 1976, after Jobs had persuaded Wozniak to quit HP.
The company’s big success was Woz’s follow up computer, the rather obviously named Apple II, which went on sale on June 5, 1977.
This really was a personal computer, including neat plastic case, integrated keyboard and colour display. It was one of the most successful PCs ever made, selling six million units, and for years dominated the market.
While Jobs is accused of stiffing some early Apple employees when the company went public in December 1980 Woz sold some of his shares at a very low price to a bunch of mid-level Apple workers so they too could be rewarded. See, he really is a nice guy!
After the Apple II Woz kind of disappears from the Apple story. He was working on developing the Apple II while Jobs was working on him to join the Mac team. But then disaster struck in February 1981 when he crashed his plane taking off from the Santa Cruz Sky Park.
Woz was badly injured and lost all memory of the crash. He stopped showing up at Apple because he thought every day was a weekend.
He was a multi-millionaire after Apple floated but lost a bunch through divorce and funding two giant music festivals. He re-enrolled at Berkeley to complete his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.
In 1983 he did return to Apple, as a simple engineer but stopped on February 6, 1987. He remains an Apple employee but has worked on many personal projects, including designing a universal remote control and a wireless GPs system.
In 2009 he appeared on the US TV series Dancing with the Stars, until he was eliminated for a poor Argentine Tango.
Since 1983 Apple has hosted an annual Worldwide Developers Conference to showcase the latest innovations in Mac OS X and iOS, with 1,000 Apple engineers helping up to 5,000 developers keep up to date with the newest technologies.
From 1998 to 2007 each WWDC was kicked off with a keynote from CEO Steve Jobs.
It isn’t all serious tech talk, though. During 2002’s WWDC Apple held a mock funeral for Mac OS 9.
Sometimes those guys crack me up!
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