25 Years Ago, Apple Acquired NeXT and Brought Back Steve Jobs

This week marks the 25th anniversary of Apple announcing that it had agreed to acquire NeXT for $400 million. The stunning move brought Steve Jobs back to Apple over a decade after he left the company following an internal power struggle.

steve jobs next
"The acquisition of NeXT is the start of a new chapter in Apple's history and represents a milestone in our transformation as a corporation," said former Apple CEO Gil Amelio, when the deal was announced December 20, 1996. "Today Apple welcomed back its most talented visionary Steve Jobs, someone who can inspire a new generation of customers and software developers and show that Apple remains the industry home for innovation and excitement."

A key reason Apple acquired NeXT was to gain access to its Unix-based NeXTSTEP operating system, which served as the foundation of Mac OS X.

"With this merger, the advanced software from NeXT will be married with Apple's very high-volume hardware platforms and marketing channels to create another breakthrough, leapfrogging existing platforms, and fueling Apple and the industry copy cats for the next ten years and beyond," said Jobs. "I still have very deep feelings for Apple, and it gives me great joy to play a role in architecting Apple's future."

Jobs initially returned to Apple as an advisor, making his first appearance at Macworld San Francisco in January 1997 to announce details of how Apple planned to incorporate NeXT technology into future releases of Mac OS. Jobs went on to replace Amelio as the company's interim CEO just nine months later, and he ended up dropping the interim title and remaining CEO until stepping down in August 2011 due to health issues.

Under the leadership of Jobs, Apple went from near bankruptcy to becoming the world's most valuable company, introducing iconic products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad along the way. Without acquiring NeXT, Apple's fate may have been far different.

Steve Hayman, a longtime Apple and NeXT employee, reflected on the 25th anniversary of the two companies merging in a blog post earlier this week.

Top Rated Comments

zoomp Avatar
4 weeks ago
I remember reading about this and feeling like it was the wrong move. BeOS seemed a better fit.

Apparently, I was wrong.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Realityck Avatar
4 weeks ago
The most important change for the good of Apple occurred. Unix-based NeXTSTEP became the basis of MacOS and Steve Jobs returned to steer the company back to being a technology marketplace leader.

Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsplusmacs Avatar
4 weeks ago

I remember reading about this and feeling like it was the wrong move. BeOS seemed a better fit.

Apparently, I was wrong.
at the time, I would say BeOS would have been a great choice.

The problem with BeOS was that it did not come bundled with Steve Jobs 2.0
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JMacHack Avatar
4 weeks ago
I’m amazed at not only the fundamental way Jobs transformed Apple, but CEO culture as well.

It seems to me that it’s in vogue to be in the Jobsian mold. To be seen as a “visionary” rather than a bureaucrat. I think it’s safe to say that Jobs “made a dent in the universe.”

Also, inb4 Tim Cook haters. Tim’s a good CEO.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
4 weeks ago
Your legacy will live forever Steve! RIP. We miss you every day. You changed the WORLD! ?



Attachment Image
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
daanodinot Avatar
4 weeks ago
One of the greatest decisions in the history of business.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

cnet michael dell steve jobs

Steve Jobs Asked Dell to Pre-Install Mac OS on PCs and Pay Hundreds of Millions in Royalties

Thursday October 7, 2021 3:16 pm PDT by
The 10 year anniversary of Steve Jobs death took place earlier this week, sparking tech leaders to share their stories of Apple's former CEO. Dell CEO Michael Dell spoke to CNET, reminiscing about the time that Steve Jobs aimed to get Dell to license Mac OS to run on Intel-based PCs and how that might have changed the PC industry. As the story goes, Jobs first approached Dell about a...
tim cook steve jobs side by side

Apple CEO Tim Cook Reflects on Steve Jobs in Heartfelt Memo to Employees

Tuesday October 5, 2021 10:50 am PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook today reflected on Steve Jobs in a touching memo to employees that was obtained by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Jobs passed away 10 years ago today at the age of 56 following a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. In the memo, Cook said that Jobs was a husband, a father, a friend, and a visionary who left an extraordinary legacy behind, adding that not a day goes by that he ...
steve jobs holding iphone 4

Steve Jobs Once Tossed the Original iPhone Across a Room to Impress Journalists

Sunday October 3, 2021 8:13 pm PDT by
Tuesday marks 10 years since Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away, and those who met him have begun to share stories about his life. CNET's Roger Cheng today recounted his memory of Jobs visiting The Wall Street Journal's headquarters in New York to offer him and a small group of other reporters an early look at a prototype iPhone, shortly after the device was unveiled in 2007. Cheng...
Steve Jobs garage

Today Marks Steve Jobs' 66th Birthday as MacRumors Turns 21

Wednesday February 24, 2021 6:14 am PST by
Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, and if he was still alive, today would mark his 66th birthday. Jobs founded Apple alongside Steve Wozniak in 1976, producing the very first Apple computers, but he also served as CEO during a pivotal period and was largely responsible for the company's wild success with products like the iPhone and the iPod. Under...
apple 1 computer

Working Apple-1 Computer, and Jobs' Leather Bomber Jacket and Other Apple Memorabilia Going up for Auction

Monday August 2, 2021 11:07 am PDT by
A Steve Jobs and Apple auction coming from Boston-based RR Auction in August will see the sale of several classic Macs and other Apple memorabilia, including a rare Apple-1 computer, an Apple II manual signed by Steve Jobs, a leather bomber jacket worn by Jobs, and more. The Apple-1 that's going up for sale is from the collection of Roger Wagner, and it was previously sold in April 2002 at...
maxresdefault

Apple Makes 'Celebrating Steve' Tribute Video Available on YouTube

Wednesday October 6, 2021 7:14 pm PDT by
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Steve Jobs passing away on Tuesday, Apple shared a short film called "Celebrating Steve" on its website, and Apple has now made the video available on YouTube for those who may have missed it. Apple describes the short film as a tribute to Steve Jobs and a celebration of his life and his extraordinary vision. The video includes many photos and short...
stevejobsquestionnaire

Job Application Filled Out by Steve Jobs in 1973 Sells for $222,400

Wednesday March 24, 2021 11:16 am PDT by
A job application filled out by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 1973 has sold for a whopping $222,400 at auction in London (via iMore). The rare employment questionnaire went up for sale on February 24 with the auction lasting one month. Jobs filled out the application in hopes of landing a job after dropping out of Reed College, which he attended for around six months. A year later in 1974,...
steve jobs signed apple ii manual

Apple II Manual Signed by Steve Jobs Sells for $787,483

Friday August 20, 2021 9:44 am PDT by
An Apple II manual signed by Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula sold for $787,484 at auction this month after garnering 46 bids. The 196 page manual was addressed to Julian Brewer, the son of Michael Brewer. Michael Brewer negotiated distribution rights for Apple in the UK in 1979, and the manual had a personal message inside. "Julian, your generation is the first to grow up with computers. Go...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...