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Lesser-known Apple co-founder missed out on potential $900,000,000,000 fortune by making this mistake

Lesser-known Apple co-founder missed out on potential $900,000,000,000 fortune by making this mistake

Mike Markkula made a decision in 1996 that could have impacted his fortune today.

Apple was famously co-founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne but fans often forget there was a fourth pivotal figure involved in the business’ rise - Mike Markkula.

On April 1 1976, the Apple Computer Company was founded, but 12 days after its launch Wayne, 90, elected to exit the company.

After selling his 10 percent share back to Wozniak, 73, and the late Jobs, 56, Wayne was paid a further $1,500 to forfeit any potential future claims against the newly incorporated Apple.

Tom Munnecke/Getty
Tom Munnecke/Getty

In the subsequent years, Wozniak and Jobs released the Apple I and Apple II computers before later introducing the world with early versions of the iMac, iPhone and iPad.

However, the pair weren’t the only ones involved in Apple’s growth and success.

Armas Clifford ’Mike’ Markkula Jr, 82, was no stranger to the world of tech, having made his name as a marketing manager and later a startup consultant.

After retiring as a millionaire in his early 30s, Markkula had time on his hands and was later introduced to Jobs and Wozniak while they were trying to acquire funding for their Apple II personal computer.

Smelling a lucrative opportunity, the University of Southern California alumnus emerged from retirement in 1977 and was persuaded to become an angel investor in Apple.

His initial investment was thought to include $91,000 of personal funding as well as a $250,000 line of credit from the Bank of America.

According to Yahoo! Finance, Markkula’s equity investment eventually yielded a 220,552 percent gain, leaving his shares worth around $203 million.

(Tom Munnecke/Getty)
(Tom Munnecke/Getty)

Interestingly Markkula involvement wasn’t limited to just helping out financially.

As well as injecting a wad of cash, Markkula held the position of Apple’s third employee and became the company’s second CEO in 1981.

Following his exit from the position in 1983, the genius took up the chairman position on the board of directors from 1985 to 1997.

Whilst serving as Apple’s chairman, a report from 1996 claims that he sold 14 percent of his stake in the company, which equated to around 500,000 shares.

According to the aforementioned publication, if Markkula had retained those 500,000 shares then his one-third stake in Apple would now be worth about $900 billion today.

Therefore that sale 28 years ago has got to hurt in hindsight, right?

In 1996, Markkula retired from Apple and went on to work for companies such as ACM Aviation, Echelon Corporation and Rana Creek Habitat Restoration.

He is currently an investor in Scotland-based LiveCode Ltd and has been a previous investor in startup Crowd Technologies.

Featured Image Credit: Tom Munnecke / Contributor via Getty