Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is wildly outspoken, and he’s never been shy to criticize the company he helped build. This week, he told Bloomberg that Apple should have been broken up a long time ago.
He’s not necessarily talking about government regulators stepping in the way Elizabeth Warren wants, though. Rather, he seems to be talking about building an environment where engineers like himself are free to work on their own.
Here’s the full quote: “I wish Apple on its own has split off a long time ago and spun off independent divisions to far away places and let them work independently, like Hewlett Packard did when I was there.”
You might note that HP was the company that turned down Wozniak when he wanted to make a personal computer — five times, according to Woz — and that HP as a company isn’t anywhere near the wildly successful juggernaut that Apple is today. But Woz has also praised HP in the past for letting him work freely. “Engineers could go in at night and have access to all the parts they needed and tools to work on their own designs,” he recalled in 2011.
“I think big tech has gotten too big, it’s too powerful a force in our life, and it’s taken our choices away. It’s hard to escape,” Woz told Bloomberg, but added that he thinks Apple is “the best of the companies” because it’s mostly making money selling products rather than tracking people.
He thinks that when it comes to Facebook and Google, competition should be enforced — but in the meanwhile, he has an ask: “Give me a choice to pay for almost no tracking.”