Report: Apple's success did not turn many employees into billionaires

Report: Apple's success did not turn many employees into billionaires
With a market capitalization (share price multiplied by shares outstanding) of $877 billion, Apple is the most valuable company in the world. On December 12th, 1980, Apple went public selling 4.6 million shares at $22. The stock closed its first day of trading at $29, and in the process the IPO created 300 millionaires, 40 of which were Apple employees. Apple's market cap at the end of that day was $1.778 billion.

Here we are 13,634 days later, and Apple is a 14% rally away from becoming the first company valued at $1 trillion. That means that Apple has increased its value by a factor of 493 over the last 37 years, 3 months and 30 days. You would think that this would have turned many Apple employees into billionaires. But a report from Bloomberg indicates that this is not so. Only one current Apple employee is a member of the billionaire's club, and that is Chairman Art Levinson. However, Levinson's worth is only partly due to his tenure at Apple; the majority of his wealth came from his employment at Genentech where he was chairman and CEO. He also picked up a stake in Google during the latter's early days.

Steve Jobs' original 15% stake in Apple would be worth $132 billion today. But when ex-sugar water salesman John Sculley pushed out Jobs in 1985, the Apple co-founder sold all but a single share of stock for approximately $100 million, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography. He later rebuilt his holdings when he returned to Apple over a decade later. Jobs succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2011 and his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, is believed to be worth $18 billion. But she does not work for Apple, and the majority of her fortune comes from holdings in Disney, which her husband obtained when the House of Mouse bought Pixar in 2006. For a time, the Steven P. Jobs Trust was the largest Disney stockholder.

So what about co-founder Steve Wozniak? The Woz owned 7.9% of Apple at one point, valued today at $69 billion. But as it turns out, Wozniak left Apple in 1985 and reduced his stake greatly over the years. His net worth is said to be in the millions. "Ownership is not something I think about," he said.

As far as Apple's current CEO is concerned, Tim Cook is certainly well compensated, but with a $600 million fortune, he still falls short of a billion. One other current employee that has done quite well is Jony Ive. But his Apple holdings are believed to be similar to Cook's, which leaves him shy of the billion dollar mark.

The failure of Apple to produce a large number of billionaire employees shouldn't be seen as an indictment of the company. In fact, it indicates that insiders aren't controlling the firm and is the result of a balanced pay structure among Apple executives. It also shows that stockholders are getting current management at bargain basement prices. According to the Bloomberg Pay Index, Apple's compensation costs as a percentage of economic profit (after-tax operating profit minus capital costs) was the lowest for companies run by the best paid executives in the country.

source: Bloomberg



1. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Duh, do we need an article about this. We all know already Apple is all about profits, and how they can make their share holders happy. Happy doesn't always mean rich. Especially in this case. The vast majority of share holders are middle class, and lower income earners.

2. techbuttcheex

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

lol wut. low income people do not play the stock market idiot

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I clearly didn't mean the lowest income earners, especially people that live from pay check to pay check. But actually meant people with lower incomes, that still have some disposable income, and some of those do play the stock market. But I guess a simplton like you needs everything explained in great detail. You can't think for yourself. I guess that is why Apple is well. They get a ton of simpletons like you, that can't think for yourself.

6. midan

Posts: 3010; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Why can't you just accept that they do great devices which people love to use?

14. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Oh they make some nice devices. However they are overpriced devices, especially for what you are laying out. Look at the iPhone 8 for example. It cost $700 for 2 GB iPhone 8 with 64 GB of non expandable storage, and it only has a small 4.7" HD display. It's not even full HD. You have to pay even more money if you want that. No USB-C, yet their MacBooks have USB-C. You have to pay extra to connect your iPhones to a new MacBook. You even have to pay extra for a quick charger. If you break the glass back on the iPhone 8 it will cost you $350 to fix it without Apple Care. So midan and you other zealots, when are you going to admit that Apples devices are overpriced, and not worth the extra money. Now I know that one of you Apple simpletons are going to probably say well millions of users are happy. But I bet you if you actually did some real surveys, you would find that a lot of Apple users will admit that they invested too much in Apples ecosystem. That they don't want to change, or will just say that it's the price of doing business with Apple. But at the end of the day we all know Apple is overpriced, and none of you zealots will ever admit that.

17. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012


18. rouyal

Posts: 1583; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Ramblings of a mad man. You’re not crazy, the world is

8. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

They offer highest quality tech products and services for what they ask from the consumer. They offer highest levels of innovations to the consumer which they cannot buy from any other company in the world. They offer not only individual products but a very advanced complete Apple eco system making he use experience breeze. Yes they sell very expensive products but many are just OK with it because of what they get return.

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31308; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Be careful. I’m an Apple product user too, and I’m qualified to speak on what we get in return. My commentary will be raw, unedited and pure unbiased truth though.

3. midan

Posts: 3010; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

My friend who is 40 bought the iPhone X, before he had 6s and before that he was all Samsung user and couldn't ever think to buy iPhone. He said me how great it was when he bought the X and just put his old phone next to old and it transfered everything to his new X automaticly. Other people who use Android were very surprised and amazed (regular average phone users) by hearing that. It's those moments when you understand why Apple is number one in mobile business world. You can't make better first impression than that for user who upgrade their phone to new model.

11. Heisenberg

Posts: 377; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

It's nothing special to transfer everything from one phone to another. Samsung switch does this perfectly and I'm sure there are other methods too

15. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Pixels include adapters in the box to allow iPhone users to transfer all their data directly to a Pixel.

7. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

This all means Apple is the least corrupt tech company in the world. Management does not steal shareholder's money and developers are getting paid by the billions. Stock buy backs are being done every year or so thus shareholders are getting their money back multiplied by thousands. Apple is also building their Apple store kingdom around the world and other major R & D initiatives are on their way too. They do acquire lots of upcoming tech companies thus expanding their product and services range by the day. All things said and done THEY DO NOT SELL USER PRIVACY FOR ADVERTISING PURPOSES just like FaceBook and Google does. They also run their entire business under the renewable energy concept which is massive in terms of sustainable development of a company. This is how a tech company should run in this day and age. Well done Apple!!

10. cmdacos

Posts: 4264; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Educate yourself. Google isn't selling private data. Child...

16. iushnt

Posts: 3122; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

You know Piyath, it’s possible to like Apple and also like other brands. Facebook is a social media company and most of the Apple users also use them on their Apple Devices. It’s not like Apple, Google and Facebook do same business and only Apple is not selling users data. All of them have different business models and non comparable.

13. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1327; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Since when had Apple been about making others rich?

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