Bill Gates does not own Apple; he is the founder of Microsoft. Apple trades as a public entity under NASDAQ with a number of stockholders.
Apple trades as a public entity with approximately 60.4 percent belonging to institutional holders. As of 2015, the top five holders for Apple were the Vanguard Group, State Street Corporation, FMR LLC, Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings and Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. The company's NASDAQ trading profile changes periodically.
Apple Inc. began in 1976 when Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne began a business to sell personal computers. Their first computer hit the market the same year as a do-it-yourself kit. At the end of the decade, Apple had established a range of products and a production line.
In 1985, Apple's board voted to fire Steve Jobs, with some members citing that he was difficult to work with due to his product visions. However, when the company began running at a loss in 1997, they rehired him. This came at a time when Microsoft computers were selling in high volumes. Jobs resigned from his position as Apple's CEO in August 2011, and Tim Cook was appointed to take his place. Apple Inc. has been a public entity since 1980.