Steve Wozniak (born August 11, 1950), known as Woz, is an American inventor, computer engineer and programmer who co-founded Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne. Wozniak single-handedly invented both the Apple I and Apple II computers in the 1970s. These computers contributed significantly to the microcomputer revolution.
The son of an engineer at Lockheed Martin, Wozniak, was fascinated by electronics at an early age. Although he was never a star student in the traditional sense, Wozniak had an aptitude for building working electronics from scratch.
During his brief stint at the University of California at Berkeley, he met Steve Jobs through a mutual friend. The two paired up to form Apple Computer on April 1, 1976, prompting Wozniak to quit his job at the time for Hewlett-Packard.
Working out of a family garage, Wozniak and Jobs attempted to produce a user-friendly alternative to the computers that were being introduced by International Business Machines at that time. Wozniak worked on the invention of products and Jobs was responsible for marketing.
Not long after Apple was founded, Wozniak created the Apple I, a so-called “Homebrew” design built largely in Jobs’s bedroom and garage. With Wozniak’s knowledge of electronics and Jobs’s marketing skills, the two were well-suited to do business together. Wozniak went on to conceive the Apple II as part of the company’s personal-computer series, and by 1983, Apple had a stock value of $985 million. Wozniak ended his employment with Apple in 1987.
Wozniak went on to found numerous ventures, including CL 9, the company responsible for the first programmable universal remote control.
Called one of “Silicon Valley’s most creative engineers,” in 1990 he joined Mitchell Kapor in establishing the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization which provides legal aid for computer hackers facing criminal prosecution. Wozniak also founded Wheels of Zeus (WoZ) in 2001, a venture started with the aim of developing wireless GPS technology.
After WoZ closed in 2006, he published his autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. Three years later, he joined the Salt Lake City-based start-up Fusion-io as its chief scientist.