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Joe Nocera

Bought Apple Stock in 1980? Held It? Don't Brag

An investor who purchased at the IPO price is rich today. But nobody can say they saw it coming.
They did OK.

They did OK.

Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Thirty-seven years ago Tuesday, Apple Inc. went public, raising a little over $100 million by selling its stock for $22 a share (40 cents on a split-adjusted basis). The sale was as eagerly anticipated as any initial public offering, including those of other tech innovators like Netscape, Google or Facebook. Some 40 Apple employees became instant millionaires, starting with Steve Jobs, who was suddenly worth $217 million.

Apple has since gone on to do many amazing things, and for at least the last decade it has also been an amazing stock, with a market capitalization that last month topped $900 billion, an astounding figure. So it’s not a big surprise that when I did a Google search of “Apple” and “IPO,” the first handful of links calculated how rich you would be if you had bought the stock at the IPO price.