US electrical engineer and computer inventor. With Steven Jobs he formed Apple Computer in 1976 to make the Apple I. He played a major role in designing the later Apple models, Lisa and Macintosh. Later he pursued other opportunities in computer-related companies and in 2009 joined Fusion-io, a company developing memory systems to improve the efficiency of data centres.
Born in San Jose, California, the son of an engineer at Lockheed who worked on satellites, he built his first computer at the age of 13, and went on to study electrical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in 1971. The same year he began to collaborate with Jobs in building ‘blue boxes’ that allowed people to make free long-distance calls. They then began to make computers out of borrowed ‘chips’ and, working out of a family garage, he and Jobs designed the Apple I. Wozniak was at that time working for Hewlett-Packard and Apple Computer was formed when Hewlett-Packard refused to back the new computer.
In subsequent years, he took several years off (it is claimed that he suffered from amnesia after a near-fatal crash in a small plane), returned to Apple in 1983, but left in 1985 after a series of disagreements with Jobs. In 1985 he started a new company, MBF, to explore new possibilities for electronics. He also became involved in other projects, including UNUSON (‘unite us in song’), with its goal of eliminating international enmities by using new communication devices. In 1990 he joined Mitchell Kapor in establishing the Electronic Frontier Foundation to provide legal aid for computer hackers facing criminal prosecution and to research the legal aspects of computer communication.