How Most of Steve Jobs’ $10 Billion Net Worth Had Nothing To Do With Apple When he Died

Steve Jobs Net Worth

Steve Jobs’ Net Worth ($10.2 Billion)

In some 39 years, Apple grew from a couple of guys building computers in their garage to one of the most valuable companies of all time. Currently the company has a market cap of $739.7 billion dollars, and last year they saw over $39 billion dollars in net income. Their stocks and profits have grown exponentially over the years, and they certainly are quite the successful company. Despite having around 20% of the mobile OS market share on lock down, Apple still managed to grab over 88.7% of all smartphone profits last year. It certainly wasn’t always like this, and a large part of the companies success can be attributed to the late Steve Jobs.

Jobs will certainly go down in the books as an innovator and will always be remembered as the face of the company. He served as head honcho for quite some time and launched many great products during his lifetime. When Jobs passed away in 2011 he amassed a fortune of some $10 billion dollars. That is certainly quite a great deal of money, but still, it seems like it would be larger right? I mean he was the co-founder, figurehead, chairman, and C.E.O. of arguably the most profitable company in the history of business. Still his net worth was “just” $10 billion dollars when he died, and an even more surprising fact was that most of that money had nothing to do with Apple. “How exactly is that possible?”, you may be asking. Well to understand why that’s the case, we have to take a look at the history of the company, all the way back to that garage in 1976.

Apple was formally established on April 1st in 1976 by actually three people. Everyone is familiar with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, however very few remember Ronald Wayne, the third co-founder. Wayne was actually the money behind the business and provided the company with 100% of their initial funding. That funding granted him a 10% share of the company. We don’t remember who he is because about two weeks after co-founding the company, he sold his stake in the company to Jobs and Wozniak for just $2,300 dollars. That will be remember as the worst business decision of all time, because that 10% stake would be worth some $73 billion dollars today. So if his 10% was worth that much now, and Jobs certainly had more, his fortune should have been much larger when he died, right? Well that’s not the case.

During the early 1980’s Apple started to become profitable and in ’82 the company made $1 billion dollars in revenue for the firs time. The company would bring John Sculley aboard as C.E.O., and they looked forward to what the future had in store. Many people are familiar with how Jobs was a “difficult” person to work with, and in 1984 that would get the better of him. The board essentially took him out of the company and he was eventually removed from working on all Apple products after many complaints. Jobs would eventually quit the company and sold off 99% of his 20% stake in the company. He made around $100 million from this deal, however he still held onto one single share.

After Jobs quit, things at Apple became very good. The company launched the Macintosh in 1984, and rode on the success of that product line for quite some time, but it wouldn’t last. Meanwhile Jobs would go on to form another company known as NeXT in 1985. He funneled a lot of his money from his Apple payout to fund the company however they did not turn an annual profit until 1994.

During the early 1990’s, Apple began to struggle. They launched a few unsuccessful products and would find themselves loosing money, and things were going downhill fast. So things at Apple weren’t looking good and things at NeXT weren’t looking good either. The executives over at Apple wanted to bring Steve back to the company, so they eventually purchased NeXT for around $427 million in cash.

Jobs would then become an advisor for Apple when they were almost bankrupt, however he still did not have any shares from the company. The board at Apple would recognize his drive, and he was eventually named C.E.O. and given 5.5 million shares of the company which were worth around $300 million at the time. However Apple would soon realize that they had other revenue streams. When Jobs was at NeXT he purchased a company that would eventually become known as Pixar, and since Apple absorbed NeXT, they also took Pixar with them. As we all know Pixar would come to be extremely successful and Jobs owned some 78% of the company which was worth about $1 billion.

Pixar used Disney as their distributor for many years, and eventually they wanted to take control of the company for themselves. Apple and Jobs sold their shares, and Steve alone collected some 138 million shares of Disney stock, and this is where the vast majority of his fortune came from when he passed away. He died with a net worth of about $10.2 billion, and around $8 billion of that amount came from Disney, while somewhere around $2 billion were from Apple. So despite being the most important person at Apple, the vast majority of Steve Jobs’ net worth when he died had nothing to do with Apple at all. Kind of interesting, isn’t it?

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


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