TODAY   |  October 06, 2011

Apple co-founder reacts to Jobs’ death

Steve Wozniak, who started Apple along with Steve Jobs from a Silicon Valley garage in the 1970s, talks to TODAY’s Ann Curry about Jobs’ life, legacy and vision.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

ANN CURRY, co-host: George Lewis. Thank you. Steve Wozniak was there at the beginning, co-founding Apple alongside Steve Jobs in a Silicon Valley garage. Good morning to you.

Mr. STEVE WOZNIAK (Apple Co-Founder): Good morning.

CURRY: We're going to show that photo of the two of you. It's pretty famous now, of the two of you building, at the beginning, the first Apple computer . What do you want to say about the man you once knew?

Mr. WOZNIAK: Well, it's very difficult for me. You know, we knew that he was in poor health, and it was kind of like when my father died and knew it was coming and told us. So when you expect it, it's not -- I don't go into a lot of crying that day. But, oh, just woke up with so many of these memories of the things we did together, and some of them were just, like, normal, fun things you do with people. But looking back, so many of them were so important. They were important to the world . And I was kind of like the shy, quiet guy, you know, who had my skills and Steve was there wanting to change the world and wanting to take devices that could, you know, actually make a start and change people's lives and develop a company, and it was a perfect -- a perfect marriage, if you will.

CURRY: He once said, "I want to put a ding in the universe." What drove him to that, do you think, Steve ?

Mr. WOZNIAK: I -- you know, when I met him and he was quite young, still in high school, it was books that he was reading, and he would always talk about the great people that moved us forward as humans, the Shakespeares , the Isaac Newtons that -- the very few that had a very special brain. And because he spoke of them all, he wanted to be one of those people and he was always looking to somehow be involved in some kind of learning how to lead the world role.

CURRY: You're saying from the very beginning he was a visionary. At the same time, he was a very private person. What would you say about him personally, his character? What was he like to be around?

Mr. WOZNIAK: Well, in the -- there's very early days , then there were early Apple days. They're different time frames, and we started out as young kids who would go around and, you know, even do a little bit of misbehavior together. These are things that you remember forever, and developing your values and talking about what's important in the world , how should people live, how should they treat each other, how do -- how should companies be structured was even one of those topics, and you formulate your ideas of where the world 's going. And then as Apple really got started with our great product, the Apple II , that was going to change the world , that's where Steve 's role was to learn and be involved in every single department of a company, learn how to run an organization, and he just started want -- having ideas. And whenever we had meetings, this is just -- I mean, it just bothers me so much. You don't really -- you see all the great products we have today and everybody recognizes Steve for that, and even I do -- I mean, he's got such incredible credibility. When he speaks it's like this is the way that is right in the world . In the earliest days of Apple it was the same thing. We'd have different ideas of how to develop a product, how to market it, what a packaging should be like, and Steve would come up with ideas that were always better than anyone else's.

CURRY: Hm. At the same time we understand he was very exacting. He had a kind of a perfectionist streak. What can you tell us about that?

Mr. WOZNIAK: He didn't really have that streak when we were young , when we were starting Apple . It's kind of like he developed it as he, you know, was more and more in a position to think and realize what had worked before and what didn't. And very often when he found things that worked it became a very -- stick very close to it for your entire life, certain principles, and his core principles turned out to be, you know, very good. As far as all the little details, I do not know how he ever functioned and kept that much in his head. Don't know that myself. Steve stuck -- stayed in the game. He stayed in the game and he kept driving it and he stayed at the forefront and really is the person who has set most of the direction for the world more than anyone in existence. And it's very difficult to imagine, you know -- oh, you know, that huge a loss. It's -- you know, to me it was like I just felt dumbstruck. I almost couldn't talk at first because it was like you told me that John Lennon got killed.

CURRY: Mm-hmm. I understand that you last saw him, according to The Washington Post , some three months ago after he emerged from a medical leave. How do you think, though, even though you didn't want to pry, facing death defined how he lived his life in those final years?

Mr. WOZNIAK: Well, he actually lived his life, his personal life , very privately. And I think that's -- it's very admirable for his family to have been, you know, shielded in a sense. And I think it gave him a lot of flexibility. It's funny because the way Apple developed these great products also involved a lot of secrecy, you know? It gives you a lot of the ability to think things out and do them your way. I know that when he spoke to me he was such a good father and cared so much about his kids and his relationship and communication with them.

CURRY: Hm . I want to ask you about something that President Obama said. He said, quote, "There may be no greater tribute to Steve 's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented." Do you think Steve Jobs might smile at that, Steve Wozniak ?

Mr. WOZNIAK: I think very much. As a businessman, he doesn't smile as greatly as he did when we were young , but I think that one would tickle his fancy.