Steve Wozniak Considers Return to Apple
By Kendra Srivastava | Tue Apr 12, 2011
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak reportedly said he might return to the company if asked, giving shareholders plenty to ponder regarding the uncertain future of its leadership.
Wozniak, or “Woz,” still holds Apple stock and even remains a paid, if nominal, employee; he also maintains relations with Apple president Steve Jobs. But Woz differs significantly from Jobs in that he favors more customizable computers than Apple currently offers.
“My thinking is that Apple could be more open and not lose sales,” he said to Reuters. Given Apple’s current circumstances, Woz’s opinion isn’t just academic.
Steve Jobs is now in his third leave of absence, having suffered through pancreatic cancer, a liver transplant, and recently an undisclosed medical condition.
Jobs’ potentially indefinite recuperation recently prompted nervous shareholders to outline a CEO succession plan. But it was shot down in a February 23 vote, leaving people to wonder what will happen should Jobs be unable to return.
Enter “The Woz,” an enigmatic genius who partnered with Jobs and others to create Apple in 1976. Woz assembled the prototype for the Apple 1 and wrote his own version of BASIC for it. A supporter of self-service machines and open-source code, Woz also distributed the first Apple’s design so other engineers could build such computers too.
Apple products today are the antithesis of that tinkering, hands-on ethos. Devices are designed to “just work,” and privilege simplicity in user interfaces. Apple discourages its users from unlocking iPhones and tweaking their MacBooks, instead ushering them to company stores for repairs and upgrades.
With his history of championing openness, Woz might challenge this facet of Apple should he find himself playing a more central role at the company.
But whether or not he returns to Apple, one thing is certain: “The Wonderful Wizard of Woz” will continue to lead a colorful life. Since leaving the company in 1987, Woz has founded several start-ups, been married four times, appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Big Bang,” written an autobiography, joined the Freemasons, and currently plays Segway polo.
Indeed, his whirlwind life might caution shareholders to take his recent, as yet noncommittal statements with a grain of salt.
Posted In: Apple (1073) | Steve Jobs (106) | Steve Wozniak (6)
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