Just two months ago, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs thought his company was forever doomed to live in Wall Street's bargain basement — and dumped 1.5 million shares at the giveaway price of $16 a share, Jobs tells TIME in an exclusive story reported this week.
Now that the Microsoft deal has boosted the share price to $30, Jobs ruefully notes that he would have made an extra $21 million if he'd just waited. Up until now, Jobs has never made the June stock sale public. "Yes, I sold the shares," he reveals to TIME Los Angeles bureau chief Cathy Booth. "I pretty much had given up hope that the Apple board was going to do anything. I didn't think the stock was going up."
Jobs still holds a symbolic single share of Apple — and is brashly unapologetic about not holding more. "If that upsets employees," he says, "I'm perfectly happy to go home to Pixar." Never mind, Steve: sell the final share, and you'll have enough to take Bill Gates to lunch.