Second acts: Seven tech titans today

What ever happened to Philippe Kahn, Dan Bricklin, Marc Andreessen and other technology wunderkinds?

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Steve Wozniak

One of the most popular icons of the early days of personal computing, Steve Wozniak (affectionately known as "The Woz") is famous for developing the Apple I and Apple II systems and for co-founding Apple Computer Inc. with Steve Jobs in 1976.

Shunning the fame that his more flamboyant partner seemed to court, Wozniak focused on hardware and software development for Apple. After being involved in a 1981 plane crash that caused him some memory loss, Wozniak left Apple temporarily and returned to the University of California, Berkeley, to complete his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and computer science.

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak, photo by Alan Luckow He returned to Apple in 1983 and retired from full-time work there a few years later. Nevertheless, he is still considered an Apple employee and receives a small paycheck.

Woz went on to start CL 9, a universal remote control company, in 1985, and co-found the GPS company Wheels of Zeus (known as wOz) in 2001. He also spent time teaching fifth-graders in Los Gatos, Calif., and continues to donate computing equipment and technical support to the district.

These days, Wozniak serves as the chief technology officer and chief visionary officer at Jazz Technologies (formerly named Acquicor). It's the parent company of Jazz Semiconductor, a Newport Beach, Calif., foundry that, according to the Jazz Web site, is targeted at applications including wireless, optical, networking, power management, storage, aerospace/defense and other high-performance uses.

In his personal life, Wozniak lives in Silicon Valley, where he is a member of the Silicon Valley Aftershocks Segway Polo team. He is also touring in support of his just-released autobiography, iWoz. According to recent Hollywood scuttlebutt, he is currently dating comedienne Kathy Griffin.

Wozniak has always been a fan of robotics. In a recent interview with IDG Now, he discusses, among other things, why a single robot will never be able to make a cup of coffee and how he is currently focusing on making his home entirely energy-efficient.

For more info on The Woz, see his Web site.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article included the misleading statement that Philippe Kahn "spent a great deal of [Borland]'s money distributing copies of jazz albums on which he played saxophone." In fact, he spent his own money producing the albums, and Borland spent about $5,000 distributing them. Also, he played flute, not saxophone, on the albums.

George Jones is the senior vice president/creative director of IDG Entertainment.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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