Apple Co-founder Leaving Company

By Kenneth N. Gilpin and Todd Purdam
The New York Times

February 7, 1985

Stephen Wozniak, the brilliant and erratic computer whiz who with Steven P. Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. in a garage in 1976, announced yesterday that he intends to leave Apple to start up a home video products company.

''I've been really into computers for 10 years, and that's a long time,'' Mr. Wozniak said in an interview. ''I don't know many people who stay with the same thing that long.''

Mr. Wozniak's departure is his second from Apple in the last five years. He took a leave of absence from 1981 to 1983 to complete an undergraduate degree in engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, and subsequently became involved in developing the US (Unite us in Song) Festival, a series of rock concerts held in the San Francisco area.

Barbara Krause, an Apple spokesman, said that the 33-year-old Mr. Wozniak would act as a consultant for the company, which is based in Cupertino, Calif.

''He has been thinking about this home video products idea for more than a year, and he finally asked to be freed from day-to-day responsibilities,'' she said. ''We are pleased that he will still be connected with the company.''

Mr. Wozniak would not give any details about the video product, saying only that it would be ''based around the use of video in the living room and will not replace anything that already exists.''

Miss Krause said that Apple would not invest in Mr. Wozniak's new venture.

Mr. Wozniak has been working as an engineer in the company's Apple II division, an area that has not been receiving as much attention as the Macintosh personal computer, which Mr. Jobs oversees.

Doug Cayne, an analyst at the Gartner Group, a market research firm in Stamford, Conn., said that the nature of Mr. Wozniak's duties at Apple, as well as the company's evolution into a $1.5 billion concern, made his departure understandable.

''He was good for the early start-up part, and he has had more trouble than any of the others in Apple's transition into a stable, more disciplined company,'' Mr. Cayne said. ''The Apple II is not the area with the greatest excitement today, and my sense is that he wants to go where the excitement is.''

In addition to Mr. Wozniak, Apple is losing Joe Ennis and Wendell Sanders, the engineers who created the Apple IIc and Apple III computers, respectively. Both men intend to join Mr. Wozniak in his new venture.

Mr. Wozniak retains a sizable financial interest in Apple, holdings that he said would bankroll the new company. Based largely on his equity interest in Apple, he has amassed a personal fortune with an estimated value of nearly $100 million.

Mr. Wozniak and Mr. Jobs collaborated on the creation of Apple I and later Apple II after Mr. Wozniak was unable to persuade executives at the Hewlett-Packard Company, where he was an employee, that personal computers were marketable items.

Copyright 1985 The New York Times Company