Woz: ‘Steve Jobs didn’t know technology and just wanted to be important’

“Apple’s co-founder rarely shies away from speaking his mind but Steve Wozniak’s latest comments could be seen as his most insightful yet,” Victoria Woollaston reports for The Daily Mail. “Speaking to YouTube channel Reach A Student, he revealed more about the early days of the firm and said his business partner Steve Jobs ‘didn’t know technology.'”

“The 65-year-old admitted Jobs played no role in the design of the Apple I and Apple II computers and instead ‘just wanted to be important,'” Woollaston reports. “The interview was conducted by 14-year-old entrepreneur Sarina Khemchandani who runs the YouTube channel. She asked: ‘I’ve overheard you were able to overcome many hardware and software issues in the making of the early Apple computers. What role did Steve Jobs play during this time?'”

Woollaston reports that Wozniak replied: “Steve Jobs played no role at all in any of my designs of the Apple I and Apple II computer, and printer interfaces, and serial interfaces, and floppy disks and stuff that I made to enhance the computers. He did not know technology. He wanted to be important, and the important people are always the business people. So that’s what he wanted to do.”

Woz’s Steve Jobs comments begin at the 3:50 mark:

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Eventually, we think it’s pretty safe to say that Jobs came to “know technology” along with achieving a healthy degree of importance.

As always, we love Woz and his comments are often misunderstood in print. Watch the video for context.

37 Comments

    1. Not only that: Jobs could fix a TV set and make digital electronics before ever meeting Wozniak, he has served as engineer in Atari for two years and was considered qualified enough to be sent alone to Europe to care for equipment.

      Jobs has over 50 utility patents — which are about engineers (and about 300 design patents, some of which such as lamp iMac are also in engineering category).

      Wozniak is a loose cannon in what he says; it does not matter as he is wildly inaccurate often.

    2. It’s quite obvious that both Woz and Jobs were good engineers, but when it came to the Apple II, it wouldn’t have been possible to build something like that in a garage. It needed to be approached as a proper business.

      Nobody could doubt Woz’s genius with circuit design and machine code programming, but just imagine how things might have gone if Woz was the one who had to do the marketing and business side. Jobs had the right personality to rise to that challenge and history shows that he was hugely successful.

      It doesn’t matter who did what. In those days Apple needed the skills that both guys were able to bring to the project and it couldn’t have worked without their joint efforts.

      Much as I respect and admire Woz, I don’t think he does himself any favours by talking in this way. He has much to be proud of and doesn’t need to try and take more credit than is due to him or to try and downplay Jobs’ part in those early days.

  1. Yes we do love Woz for his candid comments. I do not remember anyone asking him if Apple would have happened without Steve Jobs. I am sure he would be candid as well. As much as Steve Jobs did not have had the design brilliance of Woz, Woz did not have the vision or business drive to make Apple the company it became. So it was a great partnership – because of their differences.

        1. I was there when I saw Steve Jobs make the iPod, iPhone, iPad and many other insightful visions of technology that made the world what it is today. I was there just like you and everyone else who is about fifteen today. If you happen to be a little older you might have also seen him make the Macintosh.

          Without Steve you would still be crowing about a little candy bar phone you bought from Nokia last week with the latest keypad layout and,oh how cute the little antenna looks……but you plan to buy a screw on antenna booster. Don’t even get me started as to what interface you would be using on your latest wiz bang MS windows PC with the box full of empty card slots.

  2. “Woz and I laid out the circuit board ourselves, and we worked on the design for about six months. Woz was up till 4 in the morning for many moons. At that time Woz was working for Hewlett Packard and I was working for Atari. We liberated some parts from Hewlett Packard and Atari, and we build this all by hand.”

    “My dream for the Apple II was to sell the first real packaged personal computer, a computer you could just roll out of the box and use. Woz’s ambitions were to add color graphics, he was never really interested in Apple as a company. He was just sort of interested in getting the Apple II on a printed circuit board so he could have one and be able to carry it to his computer club without having the wires break on the way.
    Combining both of those dreams we actually designed the product. It wasn’t just us. We brought in other people. Woz still did the logic of the Apple II, which certainly is a large part of it, but there were some other key parts. The power supply was really a key. The case was really a key. I got a bug up my rear that I wanted the computer in a plastic case, so I found a designer and we designed the packaging and everything.”

    “Steve Jobs Bio: The Unauthorized Autobiography.”

    1. Yep. Jobs was very involved in the Apple II success. You might credit more to Woz, but Jobs played a big part. Then Jobs was completely responsible for the Mac. Which was Apple’s only other big success in the early years. After Jobs was forced out, Woz spent his time trying to keep the Apple II alive. He came up with the Woz special addition, which was geeky clever, but totally unpractical and never sold well. Trying to keep the Apple II alive really hurt Apple after Jobs left. They needed to move on. Woz was never involved in any other major product success.

      Steve went on to be involved in the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and proved to be not only a great businessman but a visionary. He absolutely understood technology. Woz betrayed Steve just before Steve was forced out and he continues to betray Steve.

      Sad.

    1. Might I add: Would we even know Steve Wozniak’s name if he had not hooked up with Steve Jobs? I think not. He would not be giving speeches to the public or being quoted in print. Steve made YOU important as well Woz, or nobody would give a rats ass about your opinion. You two can be compared to half of the Beatles. Without each other’s talents COMBINED in the early years, no one would know either of you.

  3. The last time I even barely considered WOZ making sense is when he started dating Griffith. After that it was downhill all the way and now he’s just the crazy old grandpa that gets out of the house to talk nonsense. lol

  4. Woz is probably right, Steve didn’t ‘know technology’ in the sense that he was going to sit down and design a circuit.

    Steve Jobs was obsessed with how you actually USE technology and his keen eye for the end user experience is what he brought to the table in my opinion.

  5. I met Woz at ATL airport 3 weeks ago ! We chatted all the way from the boarding gates to Baggage Claim. Although we spent only 10 minutes together, he was so warm and friendly… Like we had known each other for years!
    He is a very nice guy !
    For me (I started using an Apple II e in 1980) he is the other Steve and the only one left of the two main founders !
    I feel honored to have met the guy even though I really like Steve Jobs an awful lot.

  6. I had a number of interactions and talks with Steve during his time at NeXT. Based on the conversations we had, he certainly was technical. He might not have had deep engineering understanding of a particular subject, but he knew it with enough depth to understand the product implications and advantages.
    I believe it was this that made him the product impresario he was.

  7. >The 65-year-old admitted Jobs played no role in the design of the Apple I and Apple II computers and instead ‘just wanted to be important

    Woz alone would have sold maybe 5 computers. He could design the hell out of a motherboard, but he certainly was not capable of creating Apple.

  8. Just because someone can code, that doesn’t make them a visionary.

    Most of my friends and colleagues who are really smart technology folks, couldn’t sell their products or ideas to a wall. Let alone communicate with large groups or investment bankers….or a beautiful woman.

    The thing is Woz is correct, “he” was the technology and “SJ” was the front man. Many great musician also figured that out later after their bands break up and die but the front man goes on.

    But, you got to love Woz.

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