Mike Markkula

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Mike Markkula
Born Armas Clifford Markkula Jr.[1]
(1942-02-11) February 11, 1942 (age 75)
Los Angeles, California, United States[1]
Alma mater University of Southern California
Known for CEO of Apple Computer, Inc.

Armas Clifford "Mike" Markkula Jr. (born February 11, 1942)[1] is an American entrepreneur who was an angel investor and second CEO of Apple Computer, Inc., providing early critical funding and managerial support.

Markkula was introduced to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak when they were looking for funding to manufacture the Apple II personal computer they had developed, after having sold some units of the first version of this computer, the Apple I. With his guidance and funding, Apple ceased to be a partnership and was incorporated as a company.

Dermot Mulroney portrayed him in the 2013 film Jobs and Jeffrey Nordling portrayed him in the 1999 TNT film, Pirates of Silicon Valley.

Early life[edit]

Mike Markkula's great-grandfather Isak Ferdinand Markkula was born in Sievi, Finland. He and his wife moved to the United States in 1865[2] or 1883, depending on the source.

Markkula's first name Armas and last name Markkula are traditional Finnish names. His first name Armas means "dear" or "beloved" in the Finnish language.[3]

Markkula received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California.[4]


He made millions on stock options he acquired as a marketing manager for Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, and retired at 32.[5]

Involvement in Apple[edit]

He was lured out of retirement by Steve Jobs, who was referred to him by Regis McKenna and venture capitalist Don Valentine.[5] Valentine—who after meeting the young, unkempt Jobs asked McKenna, "Why did you send me this renegade from the human race?"—was not interested in funding Apple, but mentioned Jobs' new company to Markkula.[6] Jobs visited him and convinced Markkula of the market for the Apple II and personal computers in general.[5] In 1977, Markkula brought his business expertise along with US$250,000 ($80,000 as an equity investment in the company and $170,000 as a loan) and became a one-third owner of Apple and employee number 3.[7]

Steve Wozniak, who designed the first two Apple computers, credits Markkula for the success of Apple more than himself.[8] He helped the new company obtain credit and venture capital,[6] brought in Michael Scott as the first president and CEO, then took the job himself from 1981 to 1983 despite having promised his wife that he would only stay at Apple for four years,[5] and that he would retire by 1984.[6] Markkula served as chairman from 1985 until 1997, when a new board was formed after Jobs returned to the company. As chairman he approved Jef Raskin's 1979 plan to start designing what became the Macintosh, then prevented Jobs from killing the project in favor of his own Lisa.[9] In 1985 Markkula took John Sculley's side in a dispute with Jobs, causing the latter to leave the company, and in 1993 he helped to force Sculley out.[5]

In addition to providing what The New York Times later described as "adult supervision" to the younger Jobs and Wozniak, as a trained engineer Markkula also possessed technical skills. He wrote several early Apple II programs, served as a beta tester for Apple hardware and software, and wrote one of the first three programs available for the unsuccessful Apple III. Wozniak was motivated to design the Disk II floppy disk drive system after Markkula found that a checkbook-balancing program he had written loaded too slowly from a data cassette.[5][10]

After Apple[edit]

Markkula retired from Apple after Jobs returned as interim CEO in 1996, though he supported Jobs' return. Afterwards, he went on to work at Echelon Corporation, ACM Aviation, San Jose Jet Center and Rana Creek Habitat Restoration and to endow the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, where he now chairs the Board.[citation needed]

Markkula is an investor in Crowd Technologies, a startup developing a web application called Piqqem that applies the wisdom of crowds to stock market predictions. He is also an investor in Scotland based LiveCode, Ltd.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b c California Births, 1905 - 1995, Armas Clifford Markkula (Birth Date: 02/11/1942, County of Birth: Los Angeles)
  2. ^ Kaleva-article 4.7.2007 in Finnish
  3. ^ Kielitoimiston sanakirja (2012). Kotimaisten kielten keskuksen julkaisuja 166. Helsinki: Kotimaisten kielten keskus ja Kielikone. Internetpalvelu. ISBN 978-952-5446-68-5. ISSN 2242-461X. ISSN-L 2242-461X.
  4. ^ "A.C. "Mike" Markkula Jr.". Santa Clara University. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Markoff, John (1997-09-01). "An 'Unknown' Co-Founder Leaves After 20 Years of Glory and Turmoil". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  6. ^ a b c "The Seeds of Success". Time. 1982-02-15. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  7. ^ Jessica Livingston, Founders at Work - Stories of Startups' Early Days, Interview with Steve Wozniak, p. 56
  8. ^ Jason Zasky, "The Failure Interview: Apple Computer Co-Founder Steve Wozniak", Failure Magazine, July 2000.
  9. ^ Andy Hertzfeld (March 1982). "And Another Thing...". Folklore.org. 
  10. ^ Coventry, Joshua (2013-10-06). "Apple III Chaos: Apple’s First Failurec". Low End Mac. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 


  • The Journey is the Reward, Jeffrey Young's biography covering Steve Jobs' life until shortly after he founded NeXT computer company
Preceded by
Michael Scott
Apple CEO
Succeeded by
John Sculley