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How Steve Jobs' $ 12 million failure saved Apple

How Steve Jobs' $ 12 million failure saved Apple

. 4 min read

The biggest failure when Steve Jobs left Apple was the foundation to bring the company out of a crisis in the 1990s.

A co-founder and leader of Apple for decades, Steve Jobs has contributed significantly to the success of this trillion-dollar tech company. However, he also had a period of exclusion from the company he founded in 12 years.

In 1983, Apple had many difficulties in business. Steve Jobs invited John Sculley, then Pepsi's CEO, to lead Apple. At the same time, Jobs had an idea for a new computer model, but not under the name of Apple. The tensions that led to the outcome were Jobs leaving his own company founded in 1985.

NeXT computer, 12 million USD failure of Steve Jobs

After leaving Apple, Jobs founded NeXT company to develop products that he cherished. He invested $ 12 million from his assets to build the first NeXT computer, born in 1988. The computer has powerful hardware, a very modern design, but too expensive.

NeXT computer model was invested 12 million USD by Steve Jobs to develop but failed in sales. Photo: Reme Bolo.

At that time, computers cost from 700 USD, and only a few thousand USD had high-end products, but the price of NeXT from 6,500 USD. This product focuses on the education market, which does not have much budget to equip such high-priced products.

Only five years later, NeXT stopped manufacturing computers. The decision to switch to software is right. NeXT computers use an operating system called NeXTSTEP, based on UNIX. NeXTSTEP outperformed the Mac OS operating system on Macs now thanks to object-oriented programming support and better memory optimization.

Even developing applications for NeXTSTEP is more comfortable thanks to tools like Interface Builder. Although the NeXT computer failed, its operating system was prevalent.

The NeXTSTEP operating system laid the foundations for later Mac OS versions. Photo: The Color Convergence.

It was the NeXT machine that was used to create classic games like Quake or Doom. The "father" of the Internet, CERN's Tim Berners-Lee, also created the world's first web browser on a NeXT machine. However, Steve Jobs could not maintain the NeXT with excellent software.

At this point, 8 years after Steve Jobs left the company, Apple faced a series of difficulties. The company's profits in 1993 dropped 84%, prompting CEO John Sculley to resign. Mac OS cannot compete with Windows NT and Windows 95.

Apple desperately needs a modern operating system to install it on its computers. Sculley's successor Gil Amelio was aiming for NeXT. After a period of negotiations, Apple acquired NeXT in 1997 for $ 429 million.

Foundation for Apple's success

Along with the NeXT acquisition, Apple also owns NeXTSTEP. By mid-1997, Amelio resigned, and Steve Jobs once again became Apple's CEO. He decided to replace Mac OS 8 with NeXTSTEP software.

"NeXTSTEP's technology integration into future Mac OS versions brings a new generation of powerful operating systems," Apple wrote in a statement about the new Mac OS.

Later, Apple started developing the Mac OS X version based on the NeXTSTEP operating system. OS X integrates many features from NeXT's software, such as the application bar, the email application, or details such as the rotating circle that appears to be loading.

In 2001, Apple announced Mac OS X version based on NeXTSTEP operating system. Photo: Flickr.

OS X also uses the Objective-C language and interface creation tool on NeXT in the past. In 2001, OS X officially launched with a completely different design than the previous generation.

At first, OS X was not praised by users. Only when upgrading to version 10.2 - introduced more than 1 year later. The new OS X is speedy and stable, making users gradually trust and love this operating system more.

To date, 18 years from the first version, many of the interface and design of OS X are still retained on macOS. Can imagine how such a breakthrough broke in 2001. OS X has become an essential milestone in Apple's revival.

In 2007, when introducing the iPhone, Steve Jobs also said that the phone "runs on OS X" and has "computer-grade applications." Modern Apple operating systems such as iOS, watchOS, and tvOS all have the mark of the operating system on NeXT computers.

In 2001, when evaluating OS X, Macworld magazine commented that this is "really the operating system of the future." Although NeXT computers were not as successful as the following products that had the mark of Steve Jobs, it played an essential role in the revival of Apple defective.