Wozniak turns the Wheels of Zeus

One half of the team that helped launch the personal computer revolution -- the man who co-founded Apple Computer Inc. -- is bringing a new company to the high-tech world.

Steve Wozniak, who co-invented Apple's line of Apple I and Apple II computers with Steve Jobs, is starting a new company called Wheels of Zeus, or wOz (a play on his nickname), he said in a statement Wednesday. Wozniak will chair wOz's board.

The details about what Wheels of Zeus will do exactly are still hazy, but the statement issued Wednesday cites technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), cheap wireless access and processing power as being central to the company's plans for products and services.

Wheels of Zeus is backed by US$6 million in venture capital funding from Mobius Venture Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Inc. and Palo Alto Investors. Greg Galanos, managing director of Mobius, will serve on wOz's board of directors, along with Tim Draper, the founder and managing director of the firm that bears his name, who will serve on the company's advisory board.

Wozniak has declined to give interviews about the company, and Galanos said wOz and its investors "are not talking about product strategy right now."

He did say that wOz would offer products and services for both consumers and businesses, and that the offerings would involve "next-generation devices" and attempt to "marry GPS with wireless technology." Next-generation devices often refers to advanced cellular phones or handheld computers.

Further announcements about the company's plans should come in six months, Galanos said, noting that wOz is already operating in Los Gatos, California, and will continue to add staff.

"What we're investing in here is Steve's vision for next generation devices," Galanos said. Wozniak has always had a passion for "technology that has an impact on people's lives," he added. wOz's products will do that, he said, they just won't do with desktop computers.

More information about the company was promised at http://www.woz.com, but on Wednesday the site mirrored Wozniak's personal Web site, located at http://www.woz.org/.

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Sam Costello

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