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Steve Wozniak Forms Start-Up

January 24, 2002|From Reuters

LOS GATOS, Calif. — Steve Wozniak, who helped usher in the personal computer era when he co-founded Apple Computer Inc., emerged from semi-retirement Wednesday with plans to create new wireless devices to help "everyday people track everyday things."

Wozniak, who in 1976 created the first Apple computers with high school friend Steve Jobs, said he has formed a new company called Wheels of Zeus, or wOz, a play on his nickname.

The computer industry's most famous garage tinkerer said he believes the time is right to develop a new class of consumer electronics to take advantage of advances in satellite tracking, wireless networks and more powerful computer chips.

"Recent advances in global positioning software systems and antenna technology, coupled with the declining cost of processing power and two-way networking, make the possibilities for new devices and services really exciting," Wozniak said in a statement.

Wozniak did not announce what products he is developing, and a company spokesman was not available to comment.

Wozniak said wOz had secured $6 million in initial funding from well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalists Mobius Venture Capital--the former Softbank Venture Capital--along with Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Palo Alto Investors.

The Silicon Valley icon helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple's first line of products, including the Apple I and II, and influenced the popular Macintosh.

Tim Draper, founder and managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, will be chairman of the company's newly formed advisory board, which will include undisclosed "top executives and industry innovators."

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