Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Inc., was named a contestant on the reality television show Dancing With the Stars yesterday.
The ABC program, which pairs actors, singers and former sports stars with professional dancers, named Wozniak -- who often goes by the simpler "Woz" -- as one of this season's 13 celebrity contestants.
Wozniak, 58, founded Apple Computer, now Apple Inc., in 1976 with Steve Jobs, the current CEO of the company who is on medical leave until June. An engineer working at Hewlett-Packard Co. at the time, Wozniak designed the Apple II, the company's first mass-produced personal computer, as well as its forerunner, the hand-built Apple I.
He is not the show's first technology-related contestant. In 2007, Mark Cuban, now the owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, appeared on Dancing With the Stars. Cuban had made the bulk of his fortune in 1999 when he sold his Internet start-up, Broadcast.com, to Yahoo Inc. for $5.9 billion.
Wozniak, who left Apple in 1987 -- although he claims to still be on the company's payroll -- took his first post-Apple technology job last week when he was named chief scientist at Salt Lake City-based Fusion-io, a maker of solid-state storage hardware.
With Wozniak's known affection for the Segway, it's possible that he might perform on the scooter. That, too, would have precedent: Comedian Adam Carolla rode a unicycle during a Paso Doble last year. One user commenting on MacRumors urged Wozniak to break out the Segway. "Please do it on the Segway!" said someone identified as "NT1440."
Wozniak's competition will include former NFL linebacker Lawrence Taylor, singer Jewel and actress and former model Denise Richards.
In Dancing With the Stars, couples compete in several forms of ballroom dance and then are judged by an on-air panel. Home viewers vote for their favorites by phone, with one celebrity contestant eliminated each week.
The show opens its eighth season March 9 on ABC.