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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Apple Founders: The Third Man

It's common knowledge that Apple was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976, as is often parroted in news stories, history articles and documentaries about Apple. However, what isn't such common knowledge, is that there was actually a third man who founded Apple, one Ronald Wayne. This fact has now become very apparent, because the original contract to found the company and signed by the three men, has just been sold at upmarket auction house, Sotheby's, for a cool $1.35 million. Yes, seriously, $1.35 million. There's much better things to spend that kind of money on, we think. On top of that, the winning bidder, Eduardo Cisneros, chief executive officer of Miami-based Cisneros Corporation, had to pay Sotheby's a 12% commission, making the total amount spent $1.6 million, which caused his credit card to catch fire and explode (we made that last bit up). Anyway, the document was expected to sell for a maximum of around $150K, but somehow did much better. Perhaps this is because of Jobs's fame and the fact that he has sadly passed away recently.

 The contract reveals that the original partnership for the Apple Computer Company gave Wayne a 10% stake in the company and the two Steves 45% each. However, in what must have been the biggest business blunder of his life, Wayne wanted out and was therefore paid just $2300 for his part in founding the company. Apple's market cap shot past Microsoft some time ago to make them the number one technology company, they are now a market leader in various gadgets such as the iPhone and have a very loyal following for their Macintosh computers. Due to this incredible success, his contract would have been worth a staggering $2 billion! Ouch. However, today, Wayne is retired and sells stamps and rare coins from his home in Nevada. Oh, what could have been...

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