Apple’s Key Players

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple on 1976.04.01 and incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc. on 1997.01.03. The company has had a lot of significant players over its nearly four decades of existence.This page provides a listing of the founders, technologists, CEOs, and designers who played a significant role in the company’s history, along with links to articles on Low End Mac.

The Founders

Steve Jobs (1955-2011), founder and CEO of Apple and NeXT, 1977 – 1985, 1996 – 2011)

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, 1977

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1977

Born 1955.02.24 in San Francisco, Jobs cofounded Apple with Wozniak in 1976. He was ousted in 1985 and returned in 1996, eventually retaking the top spot. He founded NeXT Computer in the interim and also acquired Pixar.

Steve Wozniak (1950- ), founder, teacher (1977 – 1985)

Born 1950.08.11 in San Jose, Wozniak (a.k.a. Woz or The Woz) was the engineer behind the design of the Apple and Apple II computers and Apple’s revolutionary, low-cost Disk II floppy drive. He left Apple Computer in 1985 and eventually became a fifth grade teacher.

Ronald Wayne (1934- ), early partner

Wayneworked with Jobs and Wozniak, writing Apple’s original partnership agreement and owning 10% of the company at its founding. Two weeks later he sold his share for US$800.

The Backers

Mike Markkula (1942- ), investor, board member, board president (1977 – 1993)

Markkula provided $250,000 in funding along with substantial business expertise when Apple incorporated in 1977. He also served on its Board of Directors and as the board’s president.

The Leaders

John Sculley (1939- ), CEO 1983 – 1993

Sculley was Vice President of Pepsi from 1970 to 1977, when he became President through 1983, when Steve Jobs lured him to Apple.

Jean Louis Gassée (1944- )

Gassée had worked for Hewlett Packard before joining Apple Europe in 1981, and after Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985, Sculley appointed Gassée head of Mac development. Gassée was strongly opposed to licensing Mac clones and was widely expected to become CEO after Sculley. After he left Apple in 1990, he founded Be Incorporated, which developed the BeOS operating system and the short-lived BeBoxdual-processor PowerPC-based computer. BeOS was also ported to Macintosh and, later, x86 PCs. In 1996, BeOS was widely expected to become the basis of the next generation Mac OS, but Apple instead chose Jobs’ NeXT.

Michael Spindler (1942- ), CEO 1993 – 1996

Nicknamed “The Diesel” for his work habits, Michael Spinder joined Apple Europe in 1980 and was selected to replace Sculley in June 1993.

Gil Amelio (1943- ), CEO 1996 – 1997

Amelio worked at Bell Labs, Fairchild Semiconductor, the semiconductor division of Rockwell International, and was CEO of National Semiconductor from 1991 until 1996, returning the company to profitability. He was hired to do the same for beleaguered Apple in 1996, and in addition to cutbacks that probably kept the company from going under, Amelio was responsible for purchasing NeXT and bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple.

Tim Cook (1960- ), CEO 2011 –

On 2011.01.17, Steve Jobs handed over leadership of Apple to Tim Cook due to declining health. Cook, who had overseen Apple during Jobs’ previous medical leave, appears to be doing a good job leading Apple forward. He is Apple’s first CEO born after Steve Jobs.

The Designers & Engineers

Alan Kay (1940- ), software engineer (

Kay worked at Xerox PARC starting in 1970 and is the father of object-oriented programming. His Dynabook concept formed the basis for both notebook and tablet computers, and he invented the modern graphical user interface (GUI) with overlapping windows as used in Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh.

Jef Raskin (1943-2005), software engineer (1978 – 1982)

Raskin joined Apple in January 1978 as its 31st employee.

Andy Hertzfeld (1953- ), software engineer (1979 – 1984)

After buying an Apple II in January 1978, Hertzfeld went to work for Apple in August 1979, where he was a designer for the Macintosh system software. Since leaving Apple, he co-founded Radius, General Magic, and Eazel. Hertzfeld joined Google in 2005 and was the key designer of the Circles user interface in Google+ launched in 2011.

Susan Kare (1954- ), graphic designer (1982 – 1985)

Kare is the designer who created many of the visual elements in the original Macintosh interface, not to mention more recent work she’s done with NeXT, Windows, IBM, Eazel, and Facebook. Kare gave us the original versions of the Chicago, Geneva, and Monaco typefaces as well as the Happy Mac, Clarus the dogcow, and the symbol on the Command key, among other things.

Michael Dhuey (1958- ), hardware engineer (1980 –  2005)

Dhuey gave us system expansion on the Macintosh II, worked at Apple for many year, and helped develop hardware for the first few generations of iPods.

Jon Rubinstein (1956- ), hardware engineer (1997 – )

Ruybinstein worked with Steve Jobs at NeXT starting in 1990 and left NeXT when it got out of the hardware business. After Jobs’ return to Apple, he brought in Rubinstein, who oversaw Apple’s hardware through the comeback years that brought us iPods, iBooks, G3 and G4 PowerBooks, iMacs, G3 and G4 Power Macs, and more. He helped cut unnecessary projects and product lines. He also helped secure key parts for the iPod, such as the 1.8″ hard drive.

Jonathan (Jony) Ive (1967- ), designer

Jony Ive is Apple’s Vice President of Industrial Design and the man responsible for the look of the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro and Air, and iOS 7.

Tony Fadell (1969- ), father of the iPod (2001 – 2008)

Fadell conceived of the iPod and sold the idea to Apple, where he oversaw 18 generations of iPods and 3 generations of iPhone before leaving in 2008.

Bob Mansfield, hardware engineer (1999 – )

Mansfield came to Apple when it acquired Raycer Graphics in 1999, and he became senior vice president of Mac Hardware Engineering. In 2010, he took the lead of Devices Hardware Engineering following retirement of Mark Papermaster,and he announced his retirement in 2012, although he has remained at Apple to work on future projects. Mansfield is credited with leading the iMac and MacBook hardware teams.

The Marketers

Guy Kawasaki (1954- ), Mac evangelist (1983 – 1987)

Guy Kawasaki was the original Mac Evangelist and was part of the original Macintosh launch team. He did a great job promoting Apple to developers, particularly during the “beleaguered” years of 1996 and 1997. He has since become a dominant force promoting Google Plus and Motorola.

The Board of Directors

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