Steve Wozniak, who started Apple in a Silicon Valley garage with Steve Jobs in 1976, said he’ll miss his fellow co-founder “as much as everyone.”
“We’ve lost something we won’t get back,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press following Jobs’ death on Wednesday.
“The way I see it, though, the way people love products he put so much into creating means he brought a lot of life to the world.”
Wozniak, a high school friend of Jobs’, last saw him about three months ago, shortly after Jobs emerged from a medical leave to unveil Apple Inc.’s iCloud content syncing service and the latest version of its iOS mobile software. At the time, Wozniak said, Jobs looked ill and sounded weak.
Jobs had battled cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant in 2009 after taking a leave of absence for unspecified health problems. He took another leave of absence in January his third since his health problems began and officially resigned as CEO in August. Jobs became Apple’s chairman and handed the helm to his hand-picked successor, Tim Cook.
Apple announced Jobs’ death Wednesday afternoon. The company did not specify a cause. Jobs was 56.
Wozniak, 61, said Jobs was a good husband and father and a great businessman who had an eye for details. He said Jobs was a good marketer and understood the benefits of technology. His string of hits includes the Apple II and Macintosh computers, iPod music players, the iPhone and the iPad tablet computer.
When it came to Apple’s products, “while everyone else was fumbling around trying to find the formula, he had the better instincts,” he said.
Wozniak wiped away tears in an AP video interview.
Jobs “gets a reputation for being a strong leader and for being brash. But to me he was always so kind, such a good friend,” he said.
After dropping out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Jobs returned to California in 1974, where he attended meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, a group of computer hobbyists with Wozniak.
Wozniak’s homemade computer drew attention from other enthusiasts, but Jobs saw its potential far beyond the geeky hobbyists of the time. The pair started Apple Computer Inc. in Jobs’ parents’ garage in 1976. According to Wozniak, Jobs suggested the name after visiting an “apple orchard” that Wozniak said was actually a commune.
Wozniak and Jobs both left Apple in 1985. In Jobs’ case, it followed a clash with then-CEO John Sculley. Jobs resigned his post as chairman of the board and left Apple after being pushed out of his role leading the Macintosh team.
Jobs returned in 1997 as interim CEO after Apple, then in dire financial dire straits, bought Next, a computer company he started.
According to Wozniak, Jobs told him around the time he left Apple in 1985 that he had a feeling he would die before the age of 40. Because of that, “a lot of his life was focused on trying to get things done quickly,” Wozniak said.
“I think what made Apple products special was very much one person, but he left a legacy,” he said. Because of this, Wozniak hopes the company can continue to be successful despite Jobs’ death.