Bad Apples: Steve Jobs and The Woz Started Out By Making Illegal Phones

Long before Apple released the iPhone, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the company’s two founders, worked on a very different kind of phone.

In this excerpt from Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, a video released in 1999, a young (and very bearded) Jobs discusses one of the duo’s earliest projects, producing blue boxes, an illegal device that let users make free telephone calls anywhere in the world.

While Jobs admits that these devices were illegal, he also boasts that they built “the best one in the world,” and emphasizes how influential this project was on the technology that Apple produced years later.

“Experiences like that taught us the power of ideas, the power of understanding that if you could build this box, you could control hundreds of billions of dollars of telephone infrastructure around the world. That’s a powerful thing,” Jobs said in the interview. “If we hadn’t made blue boxes, there would have been no Apple.”

[Via @TimOBrienNYT]

For more on how Steve Jobs struggled to make it to the top of the tech world and stay there, check out this feature on Opening Lines.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Revolweb.

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