Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2008 (Revised February 2011)

Apple's Core

by Noam T. Wasserman

Abstract

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are best friends who enjoy pulling pranks together and talking about electronics. After several small collaborations, Jobs pitches Wozniak on starting a company together to sell computers based on Wozniak's design for a personal computer. Wozniak faces decisions about whether to quit the job he loves at Hewlett-Packard to join Apple Computer, how to define his role within Apple, whether to take on Jobs as his co-founder, whether to accept a third co-founder proposed by Jobs, and how to split equity with his co-founders. Early on, they add an outside investor who changes the company's trajectory and who brings in a new chief executive. Later, tensions rise between the two founders as their strategic visions diverge and as the company grows. Wozniak has now learned some disturbing news about his co-founder and has to decide whether that news will affect his continuing collaboration with Jobs.

Keywords: Business Startups; Entrepreneurship; Equity; Managerial Roles; Partners and Partnerships; Conflict Management;

Citation:

Wasserman, Noam T. "Apple's Core." Harvard Business School Case 809-063, October 2008. (Revised February 2011.)