Steve Wozniak is still on Apple's payroll four decades after co-founding the company

  • Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he's still "technically an employee" after four decades.
  • Wozniak joked that since he reported to Steve Jobs, he can't be fired.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak made a surprising revelation on Wednesday evening to an audience in Silicon Valley.

"I'm still technically an employee," Wozniak said, during a panel discussion at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. "I'm the only person who's been on the payroll since day one."

Speaking in front of about 500 people, including former employees of Hewlett-Packard and Intel, Wozniak told moderator Michael Malone that "it's a small paycheck" compared with what he once earned as an executive. Wozniak started Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976 and was instrumental in the developing the company's early computers.

Wozniak drew laughs with some dark humor at the expense of his late co-founder, who died in 2011. Based on the last Apple organizational chart that he was aware of, Wozniak said that he still reported to Jobs.

"Since he died, I can't be fired," he said.

Steve Jobs, left, and Steve Wozniak in 1977
Tom Munnecke | Getty Images
Steve Jobs, left, and Steve Wozniak in 1977

Wozniak also recounted how he'd given enough of his personal pre-IPO Apple stock options to 80 other employees, "so they could buy a house."

Apple went public in 1980, finishing its first day of trading with a market capitalization of $1.78 billion. It's now the world's most valuable company, worth more than $900 billion.

"We didn't start a company to make money," said Wozniak, who launched an online technology education service late last year called Woz U.

The panel preceded an advance screening of "Silicon Valley, The Untold Story," a documentary on the region that will air in March on the Discovery Science Channel. The other speakers were WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, venture capitalist and early Apple employee Heidi Roizen, and Kim Polese, a start-up investor and former executive of Sun Microsystems.

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