Woz says he never intended to change the world with Apple

“Steve Wozniak says he never intended to change the world. That was the other Steve, Steve Jobs. He just wanted to build computers. Oh, and he really — really — wanted to spend his career as a Hewlett-Packard engineer, a position he reluctantly left.” John Boudreau writes for The San Jose Mercury News. “Life turned out very differently for the self-trained electrical engineer. In 1976, he and Jobs started Apple Computer, which would help launch the personal computer revolution. Observers say Apple would never be what it is today without either Steve — Jobs, the tech evangelist and visionary, and Wozniak, whose technical genius created computers for the masses.”

“‘I didn’t want to start this company,’ said Wozniak, known in Silicon Valley simply as ‘Woz.’ ‘My goal wasn’t to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers. I only started the company when I realized I could be an engineer forever.’ Wozniak, 55, left Apple in 1981 to work on his engineering degree at the University of California-Berkeley and dabble in other things. He returned for three years in 1983. Though he has been involved in other ventures since Apple, Wozniak will always be identified with the Cupertino company,” Boudreau writes. “Wozniak recently sat down with the Mercury News to talk about Apple’s 30th anniversary in his home perched in the Los Gatos hills.”

Mercury News: How would you describe your relationship with Steve Jobs?
Woz: We are friends and polite and talk to each other once in a while. . . . We’ve never had an argument. There have been a couple of artificial ones over misinterpretations of things in the press. I’m a real analytical person. When I talk with reporters, I will talk about the pluses and minuses of an issue and, boy, sometimes they like to grab a little minus, twist the words a little, exaggerate it and make a headline.

Mercury News: What’s it like being Steve Wozniak and shopping in an Apple store? Are you recognized?
Woz: I was in Boston once. I needed two AC adapters. I ran into this new Apple store. I went up to the counter, “I’d like two 65-watt AC adapters.” I didn’t say anything about who I was. And they bring them out. I say, “How much?” They say, “We are expensing it.” I said, “Yeah, but how do I pay for it?” They said, “No, no, no — we are allowed to give gifts to special people.”

Mercury News: Do you attend Apple product announcement events?
Woz: That’s actually one of the nicest things Steve does for me: He makes sure I am always invited to the VIP guest area for the product rollouts. I appreciate that more than I can ever say. Those things have inspired me. They have inspired my children when I have brought them in the past. They are really great to see.

Full article here.

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Related articles:
Woz raises $150 million with Acquicor IPO – March 15, 2006
Wozgate erupts – March 03, 2006
Woz heartily denies ‘Apple should spin off iPod’ quote – February 25, 2006
Woz: spin off iPod, Intel Macs ‘like consorting with enemy,’ Microsoft is ‘Darth Vader’ – February 23, 2006
Apple alumni Amelio, Hancock, Woz start Acquicor Technology ‘blank check’ company – February 15, 2006


  1. “Pirates of Silicone Valley” That’s old school. Cue the 70’s jazz guitar.

    Hard enough keeping abreast of all of the implanted issues. Putting development to bed becomes a tit for tat intrusion.

    MW: language

  2. Y’know, I say that to my wife and she doesn’t care much for that saying – it’s like she gets offended by it or something….

    I think it’s funny as hell…

    Question – How do you reunite the Beatles?

  3. Just because he was once was a key player of a revolution does not making a guru or person to be listened to – there is a very apropos word for that – has been.

    Let’s hear from relevant people – Woz is not one

  4. DBS –

    This is a fluff piece, but he often comments on technology. You really don’t think the thoughts of the guy who made computers viable isn’t relevant?

    He’s an engineer — and a damned good one. His most important contributions were in streamlining processes to avoid cruft. All of today’s engineers are standing on his shoulders, so when he says “You’re leaning too far left,” you’d better listen to him.

  5. My POV is that of an Apple II legacy and if it weren’t for Woz I’m not sure if I would have ever discovered the fun of computers, especially Apple computers. Think about it – Atari’s, Commodore’s, Amiga’s, TRS-80’s – none of those companies have withstood the test of time like Apple and it’s because they had the best product from the beginning, thanks to Woz’s designs. So, I think his opinion is very relevant on Apple’s 30th birthday. Woz not only gave Apple life but helped create an entirely new industry – home computing.

  6. DBS: and if George Washington were to reappear would he be irrelevant? I would love to hear what he has to say. Then again I’m relegated to hearing from you… what are your “relevancy” credentials? At least he still has a toe in the water unlike BG! Talk about irrelevant!
    MW: told – ooh, you told me…

  7. Met Woz once after he spoke at a little Cincinnati MUG “Microconvention”. Funny guy, total teddy bear. In terms of transistor and micro-whatever engineering, he really did think different. He taught himself how to read schematics (his dad helped) so he wasn’t bound by conventions when it came time to design solutions. A definite “outsider” genius.

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