Today in Apple history: Apple is founded by Steve Jobs, Woz and Ron Wayne


Apple logo at the time Apple Computer Co. was founded on April 1, 1976.
The original Apple logo, designed by Ron Wayne.
Photo: Apple

April 1: Today in Apple history: Apple founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne April 1, 1976: The Apple Computer Company is founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The trio sets out to sell the $666 Apple-1 computer.

Apple will not officially become a corporation until January 3 the following year. By that time, Wayne is no longer a part of the business.

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Apple founded to turn Apple-1 from hobby to ‘real computer’

Apple’s initial ambitions were quite modest. Wozniak started working on the Apple-1 as a hobby, with no goal beyond showing it off to peers at the Homebrew Computer Club in Menlo Park, California.

“I did this computer … to show the people at Homebrew that it was possible to build a very affordable computer — a real computer you could program for the price of the Altair — with just a few chips,” Wozniak recalled in his autobiography, iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It.

Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne found Apple Computer Co.

Jobs convinced Woz that they would find more success building and selling the Apple-1 rather than giving away the designs. This led to Jobs, Woz and the older Wayne — who the Steves met at pioneering video game and computer company Atari — going into business together. And thus Apple was founded on April Fools’ Day in 1976.

Jobs and Wozniak were the main drivers behind Apple. They each received a 45% stake in the new company, while Wayne held the remaining 10%.

Less than two weeks after the company’s founding, Wayne cashed in his Apple shares for $800. He eventually received an additional $1,500 to seal the deal.

The original contract that founded Apple.
The original contract by which Apple was founded.
Photo: Apple

Apple II computer becomes a breakthrough

By early 1977, Apple was ready to release its breakthrough Apple II. And the company lined up venture funding to fuel expansion far beyond its humble origins.

When Apple went public in 1980, both Woz and Jobs became instant multimillionaires. (Despite missing out on that windfall, Wayne remains remarkably upbeat about stepping away from Apple.)

Today, Apple is a company valued at more than $2.6 trillion. That’s quite the success story! Now if only we’d invested in Apple way back when it was founded …


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