The Man Who Walked Away From Steve Jobs

Ronald Wayne once shared 10 percent of the Apple empire with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak but walked away. Wayne tells INSIDE EDITION what happened.

The new Steve Jobs movie starring Ashton Kutcher hits theaters this week.

The world mourned Jobs when he died in 2011. The movie follows Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as they make their very first computer. 

But there was a third person present at the birth of Apple. His name is Ronald Wayne. Some people think he made the biggest business blunder in history.

Ronald Wayne told INSIDE EDITION, “I will not be surprised if I am not in the movie.”

Jobs had worked with Wayne at the gaming company Atari.  He wanted Wayne to join him at Apple and offered him 10 percent of the company. Jobs and Wozniak each got 45 percent.

INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd asked Wayne, "These guys are in their 20's, you're in  your 40's, you kind of took on the role of the adult in this situation?"

Wayne replied, "That's essentially the way it was. To me it was kind of like having a tiger by the tail. It was fun, it was interesting, it was exciting."

But just two weeks into the partnership Wayne backed out.  He felt that because Jobs and Wozniak were so young and had no assets, he would be financially responsible if the company failed.  He said he also had other projects he wanted to work on.

“Their passion was computers. My passion, believe it or not, was slot machines.”

Apple, of course, would go on to be one of the most successful companies ever. Had Wayne held on to his 10 percent stake in the company, that 10 percent would now be worth, get ready for this, more than $40 billion.  

What’s more surprising, the 79 year-old Wayne, who lives in a modest home and gets by on Social Security checks, is not bitter, saying, "If I had stayed with Apple I probably would have wound up the richest man in the cemetery."

It might surprise you but Wayne has nothing but kind things to say about Jobs. He calls him a genius and a friend. And of Wozniak? 

“As far as I'm concerned he is the most gracious man I have ever met in my life", said Wayne.

Coincidentally, a new HBO movie staring Larry David and Jon Hamm called Clear History tells the story of a man who quits a car company just before it becomes a massive success.

In the movie and in Ronald Wayne's story, both give up10 percent of a company that would have made them billionaires. It's played for laughs on TV but the real life guy who gave up billions takes his lot in stride.

Wayne says, “I am as enamored with money as anyone else but it's a question of what you want to do with your life. At least I did whatever I wanted to do and whenever I wanted to do it and it's been fun."