December 12, 1980 Apple is going public, placing 4.6 million shares on the stock market at a price of $ 22 per share.
In the biggest technology IPO of its time, more than 40 of Apple’s 1,000 employees immediately became millionaires. As Apple’s largest shareholder, 25-year-old Steve Jobs ends the day with a net worth of $ 217 million. However, the high salary raises internal tensions because it emphasizes the class division of Cupertino.
The biggest IPO of the day
Like the IPO of a modern technology giant such as Twitter, Apple’s public offering has been hotly anticipated in the press. “Not since Eve’s apple was such a temptation,” the article reads The Wall Street Journal.
One Merrill Lynch analyst commented that even her brother “who only invests in the stock market on Tuesdays in leap years” called her to ask what was going on with the hot little computer company from Cupertino.
Unlike some other technology companies that went public but disappointed, the Apple IPO proved to be a big hit. It became the largest IPO since the Ford Motor Company’s public offering in 1956, a year after Jobs was born.
Under the auspices of Morgan Stanley and Hambrecht & Quist, Apple shares were reported for sale at a price of $ 14 per share. However, it opened for $ 22 – and sold out in minutes. On that day alone, the AAPL rose 32%, with a closing value of $ 29 and an overall estimate of $ 1.778 billion.
Apple IPO brings current millionaires
Inside Apple, the atmosphere was as cheerful as you would expect. Then-CEO Mike Scott brought a few crates of champagne to celebrate. Meanwhile, several employees set up a fake thermometer on the road separating Apple’s two main buildings. They used the prop to mark the “heat” notches as the stock grew during the day.
Many other people besides Jobs got rich at the Apple IPO. Scott earned $ 95.5 million. Mike Markkula, the venture capitalist who helped turn Apple into a “real” company, received a return on his investment of $ 203 million. His colleague VC Arthur Rock did the same, whose gambling of 57,600 dollars brought in 21.8 million dollars.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak took $ 116 million after giving part of his stock options to Apple employees who would not otherwise qualify for them.
Rod Holt, the Marxist engineer who constructed the Apple II power supply, found himself on a $ 67 million personal fortune caused by socialism. And so on.
A few Apple employees I spoke to from that time recall the general folly of watching their net worth grow while their stock options made them rich. Since the options could not be redeemed immediately, people had to endure the roller coaster ride watching their personal finances rise and fall until they were able to give the options in question.
“I went through a year of completely insane because my mood was completely tied to the Dow Jones,” user interface guru Bruce Tognazzini once told me.
The IPO is a turning point for every company, but for Apple it has initiated some big changes. With the allocation of stock options, the class division began to subside in Cupertino. Salary employees (such as engineers) were given stock options, while unskilled hourly employees (such as technicians) were not. When some people got insanely rich and others got nothing, some relationships were tested – like the one between Steve Jobs and his ex-boyfriend Dan Kottke, with whom he traveled around India.
It was just the tip of the iceberg. Two months later, Wozniak was involved in a plane crash. After that, he started getting out of Apple. Around the same time, Mike Scott laid off a large portion of Apple employees. The justification for this move was that the company – which became too big, too fast – employed much fewer workers. (Scott called it a “bozo explosion.”)
Scott did not last long as CEO either, resigning just six months after the mass layoffs in early 1981. A few years later – interestingly, on December 12, 1985 – Jobs also left Apple to start a new company called NeXT. At about the same time, Jobs invested in a computer graphics company called Pixar. A later public offering of animation studios would make Jobs a billionaire.
In short, it was a strange time to be at Apple. But historically, no doubt.
Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.