'Walking away from Apple helped make it great,' says Atari founder

'Walking away from Apple helped make it great' says Atari founder.
Appletari? Atapple? Chuck-E-Apple? Appl-E-Cheese?

He may have famously turned down the chance to buy a third of Apple from Steve Jobs for $50,000, but Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has told TechRadar he still feels he played a role in the company's eventual success.

Bushnell, speaking at the O2 Campus Party, told us that his decision not to invest was based on how busy he was with another of his projects - Chuck-E-Cheese restaurants - but that he did help a young Jobs in a more indirect fashion.

"I'm still an Apple fan and you know I think that hindsight is 20/20," he said when we asked him about his decision to say no and the forthcoming Apple iPhone 5S launch.

"I can go through a thread very easily which, by me turning Steve down led to me introducing him to Don Valentine and he introduced him to Mike Markkula who is as responsible for Apple's success as Steve Woz[niak] and Jobs.

"Markkula really was the adult supervision that mentored Steve and had him grow up. I think if I had put the money in, Markkula would never have shown up and it would have been different."

Hard cheese

So why did Bushnell make the decision not to buy into a company that was racing to develop an early personal computer?

"I was so busy with Chuck-E-Cheese at the time that I couldn't have thrown my lot in with them," he added.

"When I sold Atari, I'd been working on my own personal computer the Atari 800, but the 2600 was going so fast that we couldn't divert our resources."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.