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Apple People: Little-Known Facts About Seven of Apple Computer's Most Influential Leaders

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Meet the masterminds behind Steve Jobs -- Apple executives who have stood in the wings.

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Steve Jobs is, arguably, the most visible CEO in the world and certainly the only household name at Apple (AAPL). But the company wouldn't be the tech powerhouse it is today without the contributions of the numerous people who have walked through the doors of its headquarters -- from the Jobs' family garage to One Infinite Loop. Here are just a few of them.

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STEVE WOZNIAK
A decade and a half after getting his ham radio license in 6th grade, Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple with $1,300 made from the sale of his Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) scientific calculator and partner Steve Jobs' Volkswagen minibus. Before making his departure from the company in 1985, "the Woz" would leave an indelible print on the personal computing industry by single-handedly designing Apple's first line of products: The Apple I and II. Today he serves as chief scientist of Fusion-io, a leading provider of data-centric computing solutions and is founder of educational technology philanthropic organizations.

Wozniak survived not only a plane crash but, perhaps more impressively, four weeks on season eight of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. He also made appearances on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, "playing" the part of her boyfriend -- a match seemingly made in PR hell. Among his many achievements are the National Medal of Technology award, the Heinz Award for Technology, a New York Times best-selling autobiography and having his own Jeopardy! category: "The Great & Powerful Woz."
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RONALD GERALD WAYNE
On April Fool's Day 1976, Ronald Gerald Wayne became the third founder of the Apple Computer Company. Teaming up with the two Steve programmers, the former Atari draftsman was brought on board to pen the partnership agreement, the Apple I manual and design the first Apple logo. After two weeks, Wayne feared that he, along with the company, would be crushed by debt. He relinquished his 10% stake in Apple and let his partners buy him out for $800.

After Apple hit big, Wayne refused two invitations over the years to return to the company. Today he lives a modest but content life in an exurb of Las Vegas and supports himself with income from social security and a small vintage coin business.
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MIKE MARKKULA
A former marketing manager at Intel (INTC), Markkula, with his $250,000, joined Apple as its very first investor and in three years, restructured the company into a $200 million incorporated technology powerhouse.

It was Markkula's business plan that helped secure critical venture capital and a credit line with Bank of America and hired Michael Scott as the first president and CEO -- before taking the job himself from 1981 to 1983.

In addition to serving as its financial backbone, Markkula brought his own technical savvy to the fledgling start-up. Equipped with degrees in electrical engineering, he inspired Wozniak to invent the floppy disk, wrote several early Apple II software programs as "Johnny Appleseed" and identified glitches in products as a beta tester. In 1997, on his 20th anniversary with Apple, Markkula entered long-overdue retirement and resigned his then-post as vice chairman of the company.
JON RUBINSTEIN & TONY FADELL
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Although they worked with a team of talented colleagues, Jon Rubinstein and Tony Fadell have been singled out as co-fathers of Apple's single most iconic invention: The iPod. A veteran engineer and head of Apple's hardware division until his retirement in 2006, Rubinstein oversaw a majority of the company's hardware products for nearly a decade. While the company was trying to develop a digital music player, he found a tiny Toshiba hard drive that would give the device substantial storage while still being pocket sized.

In order to bring the product to fruition, Rubinstein hired an experienced gadget engineer who'd created handheld devices for General Magic and Philips (PHG). With Fadell leading the team of Apple engineers and designers, the device was quickly assembled with a hardware blueprint from a Silicon Valley startup called PortalPlayer, a Sony battery, some control chips from Texas Instruments (TXN) and the little Toshiba drive.
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SCOTT FORSTALL
At the core of one of Apple's greatest innovations -- the iPhone -- is Scott Forstall, the company's Senior Vice President of iPhone Software Engineering & Platform Experience. Managing the team that created a mobile phone/digital music player/camera, was Forstall and his "photographer's loupe" that had him agonizing over "literally a single pixel." Forstall joined Apple in 1997 and drafted Mac OS X and several releases of the operating system, including Mac OS X Leopard.
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TIMOTHY COOK
Running the show in Steve Jobs' absence is "business-operations maestro" Tim Cook, who has served Apple as COO since 2007. He was officially named CEO for two months in 2004 and again in 2009 while Jobs was sidelined with issues related to his pancreatic cancer and he'll likely become successor to the Apple empire when Jobs finally steps down. Cook's first gig with Apple was Senior Vice President for Worldwide Operations. In addition to his Apple duties, Cook sits on the board of directors for Nike (NKE), and the National Football Foundation. An Auburn University alumnus, the school's football program has been a steadfast passion for Cook -- a passion he indulges in his off-time from ensuring Apple remains an incredible cash cow.


Also see: Read about JONATHAN IVE, Apple's head graphic designer, in "The Evolution of the Apple Logo" and read more on STEVE JOBS, see "Steve Jobs: Myth Vs. Reality."


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Click here to return to "The Mythology of Apple" and our complete list of Apple stories.

Why is Apple so important to us? What's next for the iconic brand? Click here to continue reading from our series on the mythology of Apple. You'll also find a link to our video, "Is Apple a Religion?"


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