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GreekReporter.comBusinessWorst Business Decision Ever? Selling 10% of Apple Shares for $800

Worst Business Decision Ever? Selling 10% of Apple Shares for $800

Apple shares
Wayne was 42 years old at that time whereas his co-founders at Apple were in their twenties. Credit: Rong0517, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikipedia

Ronald Wayne, a co-founder of Apple made perhaps the worst business decision of recent times by selling 10 percent of his shares for a mere $800 in 1990.

A year later, he accepted a final $1,500 (equivalent to $8,000 in 2023) to forfeit any potential future claims against the newly incorporated Apple.

Apple is one of the wealthiest companies in the world. It overtook Samsung as the world’s biggest smartphone brand in 2023, according to the latest numbers from market research firm IDC.

Samsung’s reign at the top for more than a decade came to an end as the iPhone manufacturer shipped 234.6 million smartphones and acquired a 20.1 percent share of the market.

Its market cap is around 2.9 trillion dollars, which makes it the world’s largest company in terms of market capitalization. Any person who held even one percent stake of the company would currently have 29 billion dollars.

The beginning of Apple

Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple. Wayne was 42 years old at that time whereas his co-founders were in their twenties.

He was entrusted with mechanical engineering and documentation. Wayne received a ten percent stake, made the first agreement, and even created the company logo. The first logo was the photo of Issac Newton who was shown eating an apple under a tree.

Steve Jobs had taken a loan of fifteen thousand dollars to fulfill the first contract for The Byte Shop, which was notorious for not paying the money to its vendors. Wayne thought Steve Jobs would not get his money back.

Wayne had many assets at that time whereas the other two had nothing to lose. He thought he would land in financial trouble if the company didn’t survive. He took his name off the contract and sold his stakes for just eight hundred dollars. Had he held on to the shares, he would have 290 billion dollars and would have been the world’s richest man.

Wayne does not regret selling his Apple shares

Wayne has stated in the decades that followed that he does not regret selling his share of the company, as he made the “best decision based on the information available at the time.”

He said he had truly believed the Apple enterprise “would be successful, but at the same time there could be significant bumps along the way and I couldn’t risk it. I had already had a rather unfortunate business experience. I was getting too old and those two men were whirlwinds. It was like having a tiger by the tail. I couldn’t keep up with these guys.”

Although, at one point, Apple ended up becoming the most valuable company in the world, he said that given the risks and stress of staying with Apple he “probably would have wound up the richest man in the cemetery.”

Related: US Government Sues Apple for Manipulating Market

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