Artifact Details


Markkula, Mike (Armas Clifford, Jr.) oral history

Catalog Number



Moving image


Apple Computer would likely not exist today were it not for Mike Markkula. His impact on Silicon Valley and the world far exceeds his visibility and fame. This oral history is a major step in filling that gap.
Mike was born in Los Angeles in 1942 and grew up in the LA suburb of Burbank. He gravitated towards an engineering career starting in high school. He worked his way through college at USC, doing a wide variety of jobs, including building stereos, working in a gas station and auto body shop, a supermarket and several others.
He began work at Hughes Aircraft while still in college. He did so well, they paid for him to continue on and get his master’s degree as well. He loved the work at Hughes, where he got to design advanced avionics for leading-edge aircraft.
After spending 4 years at Hughes, he decided to look around at other positions. At the last minute, after accepting a job at Space Technology Labs, he changed his mind and moved to Mt. View to work for Fairchild Semiconductor as a marketing engineer. He spent 4 years at Fairchild, experiencing great success, but when he got a call from Intel in 1970 to join Noyce, Moore and others he had known, he was eager to make the change.
By 1974, he had met a personal goal to become financially independent and had developed a list of 52 things he wanted to do, so he resigned from Intel. One of the things he decided to do was spend one day a week (Monday) advising entrepreneurs who were launching their own ventures.
A couple of those entrepreneurs in 1976 were Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Mike was blown away by the cleverness of the design of the Apple II and the opportunity which it represented. He offered to help the two Steves write a business plan and raise money. When they showed no inclination to do that, he wrote the plan himself….and then used his network and reputation to raise the necessary funds. Founding stock was split equally among the three founders.
Mike was so excited by the opportunity in front of them, he decided to abandon retirement, recruited a CEO for the new company and took the dual role of Chairman of the Board and VP of Marketing. He remained on the Board for 20 years and made monumental contributions to the growth and success of Apple.
Markkula always considered ethics in business to be of paramount performance. He brought those ideas to Apple and in 1986, he helped fund the establishment of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. Today it is the largest ethics center in the world and something in which Mike takes huge pride.




Dennis, Eric, Videographer
Hollar, John C., Interviewer
Markkula, Mike, Interviewee


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA, USA






Oral history

Collection Title

Oral history collection

Lot Number