Saturday, Dec 25, 2021, 18:43 Economy

25 Years Ago: When Apple Bought Next & Steve Jobs Returned

In January 1996, Apple's Board of Directors came met with a law firm from New York to discuss some important agenda items. One item on the list was selling all of what is now Cupertino's most famous company to Sun Microsystems. As a reminder, Apple stood directly in front of insolvency at the time. The company's reputation was so non-existent that had Sun decided to acquire Apple, it wouldn't even have kept the original brand's name and would've simply renamed it to "Sun". The new Apple CEO, Gil Amelio made one of this most important decisions during his short time in office in reaction to the proposition with the words, "I can't get behind that at all. That's impossible." Thus, new solutions had to be sought out in order to save the future tech giant from insolvency.

Finding A New Operating System To Avoid Insolvency:
Apple redoubled its efforts, which were now more important than ever, into finding the next successor to the aged and now technologically lacking Mac OS. Almost every Apple fan is familiar with the story of the search. Although BeOS was initially considered the most likely candidate, NeXT ended up being the choice – the CEO of which was none other than Steve Jobs himself, who had been effectively forced out of his position at Apple eleven years earlier and left the company.

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December 1996 – A New System Is Required
Apple laid out 400 million dollars, more than a fortune for the company in dire straits at the time. The business year of 1996 saw only 9.8 million US$ in sales at Apple and Cupertino had just announced a loss of 700 million US$. For comparison: all of Apple's revenue from the business year 1996 is now made in less than ten days now. The official announcement occurred twenty five years ago. Apple revealed to the press that the advanced NeXT software that had just been acquired would be merged with Apple hardware and marketing channels.

Apple Gets A New Operating System & Steve Jobs Returns
In a press release, Steve Jobs revealed to still have strong feelings for his former company and to be filled with joy to yet again be in a position shaping the future at Apple. Jobs initially only wanted to be active as a consultant, however, within nine months he climbed all the way up to interim i(interim)CEO. Apple had solved two problems at once. Firstly, the company had a new, modern operating system as a followup to the classic OS, and secondly, the company had just reacquired an executive capable of turning the leaking oil tanker into a speed boat.

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