Ronald Wayne: The forgotten co-founder of Apple and billionaire that never was.....

CC™ Business News

Ronald Wayne was one of the original founders of Apple, Inc. In the late 1970s, Ronald worked as an engineer at video game maker Atari. While at Atari, one of his co-workers was Steve Jobs. In their free time, Steve Jobs and a friend named Steve Wozniak were building homemade computers. 

In 1976, Jobs and Wozniak decided they wanted to launch their own company. Jobs reached out to Wayne, who had experience setting up corporations, to be a co-founder.

The oldest member of the three-man team, Mr. Wayne sank personal assets into the business and soon became worried that the project was going to run his finances into the ground. He drew the first logo for Apple, drafted the original agreement between the Apple founders, and wrote the manual for the first Apple computer.

Unfortunately, just two weeks after forming the company Ronald decided to relinquish his 10% stake for a payout of $800. When the company became an official corporation, he was paid an additional $1500 US to give up all rights of ownership.

Ronald went back to working at Atari and later owned a stamp shop. He is now retired, and authored his memoirs Adventures of an Apple Founder, and a book about the Constitution and its historic relevance, Insolence of Office, both of which were published in 2011.

Had Ronald held on to his 10% Apple stake, today it would be worth more than $100 billion today. He has said that he made the "best decision with the information available to me at the time" and does not regret his selling of his shares. The first Apple product he ever owned was an iPad 2 which was given to him in 2011. He is the owner of a dozen patents and was featured in the documentary Welcome to Macintosh. He sold the original Apple company agreement signed by Jobs and Wozniak in the early 90s for $500. That document later sold at auction for $1.6 million.

Today, Wayne, who is 88 years old has a net worth of $400,000. Truly a case of what could have been.