Steve Jobs and Bill Gates will forever be remembered for the tech empires they helped create. But what about those unknown innovators and quiet geniuses who have worked behind the scenes?
Each day we click our mouses several hundred times, but the average computer user can't recall the name of this device's inventor. Many social media enthusiasts tweet every few hours, but many of us don't know the story behind Twitter's founding.
Take a look at our gallery (below) to see some of the tech pioneers that history has overlooked. These forgotten founders helped create something notable and either found a new passion or found themselves pushed away from their original ideas. A few of these innovators parted amicably from the projects they helped create, while others settled bitter business differences in the courtroom.
Did you recognize these co-founders and inventors? Have we left anyone out? Sound off in the comment section, or tweet us at (@HuffPostTech) with your opinions.
Ronald Wayne, Apple
The three original co-founders of Apple are Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. But you won't see Wayne making money from any of Apple's success. <a href="http://thenextweb.com/apple/2012/02/23/forgotten-apple-founder-takes-to-facebook-to-explain-his-decision-to-quit-after-12-days/" target="_hplink">According to TNW</a>, Wayne "got a 10 percent stake in Apple upon the formation of the company, only to sell it back less than two weeks later for $800 (he later got another $1,500 for his agreement to forfeit any claims against Apple)." Maybe Wayne missed out on millions, but he sure doesn't sound bitter about it. In a <a href="http://www.facebook.com/RonGWayne/posts/370073493010333" target="_hplink">recent essay</a> about his life, he wrote, "Steve and Steve had their project. They wanted to change the world in their way. I wanted to change the world in my own."
Noah Glass, Twitter
<a href="http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-04-13/tech/29957143_1_jack-dorsey-twitter-podcasting/4" target="_hplink">According to BuinessInsider</a>, Twitter was not the brainchild of ex-Google employees Evan Williams and Biz Stone. Before leading Twitter, Williams has stated that he had a podcast hosting site called Odeo. When iTunes launched, the program became obsolete, but the platform was recycled by the Odeo team and re-birthed as Twitter. But who actually started Odeo? <a href="http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-04-13/tech/29957143_1_jack-dorsey-twitter-podcasting/4" target="_hplink">According to BuinessInsider</a>, it wasn't Williams, but one Noah Glass. Williams bought Odeo from Glass, bought out many of the investors in Odeo, then changed the name of the company to Obvious. Finally, Williams fired Glass from the project. The exact reasoning for dismissing him is still unclear.
David Filo, Yahoo
Many know "chief Yahoo" as co-founder Jerry Yang, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/technology/jerry-yang-chief-yahoo-steps-down-from-board.html" target="_hplink">per the New York Times</a>. He was the public face of the now struggling internet company for 17 years, but it's actually his forgotten partner David Filo who is still working for Yahoo. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/profile/david-filo/" target="_hplink">According to Forbes</a>, Yang and Filo met while attending Standford, and named the company after an acronym meaning "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle."
Doug Engelbart, The Mouse
<a href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.01/mouse_pr.html" target="_hplink">According to Wired,</a> Doug Engelbart stood in front of the Fall Joint Computer Conference in 1968 and demoed his prototype for what we now call a computer mouse. <a href="http://www.dougengelbart.org/history/engelbart.html" target="_hplink">Engelbart's website said</a> he imagined "people sitting in front of cathode-ray-tube displays, 'flying around' in an information space where they could formulate and portray their concepts in ways that could better harness sensory, perceptual and cognitive capabilities heretofore gone untapped." Essentially, he wanted the computer to be designed for the average user. So each time you click your mouse, you can thank this relatively unknown researcher.
Jack Kilby, The Microchip
Microchips are used in our computers, smartphones and other devices we use every day. The global market for these ubiquitous, albeit unseen, pieces of technology that toalled $219 billion in 2007 alone, <a href="http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/kilbyctr/jackstclair.shtml" target="_hplink">per Texas Instrument's website</a>. Jack Kilby's research started in 1958, when he showed a "<a href="http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/kilbyctr/jackstclair.shtml" target="_hplink">handful of co-workers</a>" what would permanently alter the tech industry. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/22/business/22kilby.html" target="_hplink">According to the New York Times,</a> Kilby once stated that the researchers had "expected to reduce the cost of electronics," but that he didn't "think anybody was thinking in terms of factors of a million." While Kilby is no household name, he did receive the Nobel Peace Prize prior to his death in 2005.
Jawed Karim, YouTube
YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen shaped the video-sharing site into the successful company that Google eventually <a href="http://googlepress.blogspot.com/2006/10/google-to-acquire-youtube-for-165_09.html" target="_hplink">bought for $1.65 billion in 2006</a>, but less well-known third co-founder Jawed Karim was also part of YouTube's inception. In fact, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-10-11-youtube-karim_x.htm" target="_hplink">according to USA Today</a>, Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl, as well as the 2004 tsunami were two events that inspired Karim's video streaming idea. Eventually Hurley became CEO and Chen was promoted to chief technology officer, while Karim declined a management position in order to finish his degree at Stanford. But he didn't leave empty-handed; at the time of the Google takeover, Karim was still one of the largest stockholders in the company, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-10-11-youtube-karim_x.htm" target="_hplink">per USA Today</a>.
Khalid Shaikh, YouSendIt
<a href="http://www.inc.com/magazine/201203/burt-helm/a-silicon-valley-tale-of-humiliation-and-revenge_pagen_5.html" target="_hplink">According to Inc.</a>, the original coder for file-sharing service YouSendIt isn't the company's current CEO, Ranjith Kumaran, but a man named Khalid Shaikh. It was also Shaikh who built the first servers, which eventually earned him the title of president. But after selling a few of of the company's products on eBay for some quick cash, Shaikh was fired. Frustrated, he then "ran a piece of testing software, called ApacheBench, that flooded YouSendIt's servers with traffic," <a href="http://www.inc.com/magazine/201203/burt-helm/a-silicon-valley-tale-of-humiliation-and-revenge_pagen_5.html" target="_hplink">per Inc</a>. This destroyed the servers and sent YouSendIt offline for several hours. The company later pressed charges, and Shaikh was indicted for computer fraud.