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Apple's 15 years of NeXT

post #1 of 69
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Fifteen years ago, Apple announced plans to acquire NeXT Software, a move that would ultimately bring Steve Jobs back to the company he cofounded twenty years earlier.

In the decade and a half since the acquisition of NeXT, Apple was completely reinvented as a company, gaining new technology and direction from NeXT while being entirely rethought by a new management team led by Jobs, including many executives and engineers from NeXT.

NeXT before Apple

Prior to Apple acquiring the company, NeXT Software had spent three tumultuous years trying to figure out how to sell its advanced operating system technology after abruptly jumping out of the hardware business in 1993 -- after five years of failing to find a significant market for NeXT Computers in the late 80s and early 90s.

In its three year stint as a software company, NeXT announced plans to partner with Sun (and later HP) to create OpenStep, an open specification based on its NeXTSTEP operating and development environment, capable of running on top of other operating systems from Sun's own Solaris to Microsoft's Windows NT. Both partners ultimately backed out; Sun to focus on Java and HP to join Apple and IBM on Taligent, a project to essentially duplicate NeXT's technology.



NeXT had also developed WebObjects as a way to use NeXTSTEP's object oriented development tools to build dynamic web applications. Jobs began to view WebObjects as the company's primary asset, particularly in a market increasingly dominated by Microsoft, where there was no effective way to sell an alternative third party operating system.

Apple before NeXT

By 1996, Apple had ended up the only significant computing platform to survive the rise of Windows, kept afloat by sales of its Macintosh hardware as other alternative OS licensees, from IBMs' OS/2 to Sun Solaris to the BeOS to NeXTSTEP, floundered without a critical mass of buyers and developers in a PC market captive to Microsoft's exclusive licensing agreements.

While still in business, Apple was in rough shape, with its own efforts to modernize its classic Macintosh system software failing and time running out to maintain relevance in the computing industry. Apple had partnered with IBM (and later HP) to develop a NeXTSTEP-like system called Taligent, and had attempted to deliver its own Copland operating system, but neither effort materialized into a salable product.

Apple had started talks with Be Inc, hoping that the company's experimental operating system could breathe new life into its Macintosh line. While the BeOS could already run on Mac hardware, it was far from being ready to sell as a replacement to the existing Mac OS, and lacked core features such as a printing architecture.

After examining NeXT, Apple's then chief executive Gil Amelio, who had been brought in to turn the failing company around, realized that acquiring NeXT would not only give Apple a finished, proven desktop OS to replace the rapidly aging classic Mac OS, but also powerful the WebObjects, related development tools and a legitimate enterprise business.

Mac users were less familiar with NeXT than Be, given BeOS's consumer/hobbyist focus and the fact that NeXT had been contractually prevented from entering the consumer market by Apple after Jobs left in 1985 to start NeXT with a variety of Apple engineering talent. Amelio was confident, however, that Apple could simply ship new Macs running NeXTSTEP within the next year, a strategy branded "Rhapsody."

Apple + NeXT

On December 20, 1996, Apple announced to the surprise of many that it would buy NeXT for $429 million in cash, along with 1.5 million shares going to Jobs, who would act as an ongoing consultant after the sale. NeXT's website described the acquisition as a "merger."



Virtually no one in the Microsoft-dominated personal computing industry saw Apple as a relevant player even after its acquisition of NeXT. While Apple quickly rolled out a public strategy for making its new NeXTStep operating system the new Mac OS and converting the OpenStep environment into a Yellow Box layer that could enable apps written for it to work seamlessly across Macs, Windows and enterprise Unix distributions, rather than being taken seriously Apple was shunned even by NeXT's existing customers.

Dell, a very visible client of WebObjects in its online store, abandoned its business relationship with NeXT and created a new online store with Microsoft. Sun and HP had also abandoned their OpenStep partnerships with NeXT, and few viewed Apple's backing of NeXT technology as commercially sustainable.

Apple began shifting its own goalposts as its Mac customers balked at adopting a more serious and complex Unix-based operating system. Even worse, Apple's principle Mac developers, including Adobe, Macromedia and Microsoft, indicated little interest in writing for Yellow Box, insisting instead that Apple merge the classic Mac OS and NeXT technologies to produce something modern that could still run their existing code with minimal changes.

What appeared to be a perfect merger between ideal partners began to look more like a mess. Apple was stuck in Mac OS licensing agreements with hardware makers that compelled the company to essentially give away its OS while also squandering its ability to sell its own hardware at a profit, as cloners were taking away its high end sales rather than expanding the Mac market as intended.

Apple was also straddled with retail distribution that simply sat its computers next to cheaper PCs without effectively demonstrating any differences between them. The company therefore had no obviously competitive products, no way to sell them, and no way to keep developers supporting its status quo or its intended future. Things looked pretty bleak for the Macintosh.

Apple's only other significant product was the Newton MessagePad, a tablet computer that was getting bypassed in the market by the much cheaper, simpler Palm Pilot while demanding a significant portion of Apple's attention and efforts.

On page 2 of 3: Jobs turns Apple Around, Apple goes open

Jobs turns Apple around
The day after Apple purchased NeXT, Jobs wrote "Much of the industry has lived off the Macintosh for over ten years now, slowly copying the Mac's revolutionary user interface. Now the time has come for new innovation, and where better than Apple for this to spring from? Who else has consistently led this industry--first with the Apple II, then the Macintosh and LaserWriter? 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. I still have very deep feelings for Apple, and it gives me great joy to play a role in architecting Apple's future."

After first expressing a lack of interest in taking over management of Apple, Jobs announced the following July at the 1997 summer Macworld Expo that he would be acting as the company's interim chief executive until a replacement to Amelio could be found.

Jobs had led the effort to remove Amelio (both shown below, at Macworld Expo 1997), and immediately began undoing his decisions. That included Amelio's spinoff of Newton, which Jobs brought back into Apple just weeks after the new subsidiary had been created. Jobs then orchestrated a series of cuts that simplified Apple's product lineup and scope.



Key among Jobs cuts included the abandonment of the Advanced Technology Group, a research lab that had generated lots of products that weren't making any money, including QuickTime TV, QuickDraw 3D, OpenDoc, HotSauce, Macintalk speech synthesis and Newton handwriting recognition. Jobs also terminated the company's cloner contracts, enabling Apple to maintain control over the destiny of the Macintosh.

While cutting a variety of pet projects and bringing in Tim Cook from Compaq to similarly straighten out Apple's convoluted global operations, Jobs also built Apple a new online store using WebObjects, similar to the one Dell had abandoned. This enabled Apple to begin selling "built to order" Macs direct to users.

Jobs also slashed the number of Macintosh products down to just a tower and notebook G3, subsequently adding the iMac as an iconic new compact all-in-one the next year, followed by the consumer iBook notebook in 1999. While cranking out new hardware, Jobs also reinvigorated the classic Mac OS, adding what could be salvaged from the Copland project while working on Mac OS X (based on NeXTSTEP) as its eventual replacement.



Jobs' Apple also focused on how to grow Mac sales, launching an effort to begin building Apple-owned retail stores while also buying up key software developers to assemble a suite of Pro Apps and consumer counterparts in iLife, followed by an iWork suite of productivity apps.

Apple goes open

In addition to its continued work in developing proprietary software, Apple's NeXT-centric development team announced plans to make the core Unix OS foundation of Mac OS X an open source project named Darwin. Along with Apple's own open code, the company began funding open development of existing and emerging projects, ranging from an adoption of open specifications such as OpenGL (in place of Apple's proprietary QuickDraw 3D) to the purchase of and continued maintenance of CUPS, the open printing architecture used by Mac OS X and other free Unix and Linux distributions.

Apple also embarked upon building its own Safari web browser, developed under an open source WebKit program that would eventually shift the balance of power on the web from Microsoft's Internet Explorer to open source. Following the same development strategy underlying the open development of NeXTSTEP's BSD Unix core, WebKit has become the world's most popular web browser engine and the only significant browser among mobile devices.

Apple also began plans to completely replace the GNU Compiler Collection development toolchain of GNU/Linux (shared with Mac OS X) with an advanced new LLVM compiler architecture under development at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, and offered under under a BSD style open source license. Apple added LLDB and Clang to the mix, dramatically shifting how the future of Unix-like software would be written.

In addition to backing OpenGL, Apple also created the OpenCL specification for using GPU hardware to run general purpose number crunching, acting as neutral intermediary to gain the support of competing graphics vendors. Apple also played a key role in advancing WebDAV, CalDAV and CardDAV as open standards for working with Internet files, calendars and contacts.

Additionally, Apple cracked open the highly proprietary worlds of audio streaming, video encoding and distribution by supporting MP3, AAC, and MPEG H.264, defeating plans by Sony and Microsoft to replace open audio playback with proprietary standards intended to lock down music. Similar efforts to control video playback streaming on the Internet by Adobe's Flash were dashed when Apple leveraged all of its market power to break the back of Flash, opening video to everyone.

On page 3 of 3: Jobs' golden decade of Apple, A world without Apple's NeXT, What's next for Apple

Jobs' golden decade of Apple

By 2001, five years after buying NeXT, Apple was ready to open its first retail stores, ship its first build of Mac OS X, and launch what would become its highly disruptive move into consumer electronics with the iPod. The iPod itself would become so important to Apple's business that it served to remove the "computer" from name of Apple Computer.

Jobs outlined a digital hub strategy that made the iMac the center of a variety of devices, a strategy that lasted throughout the 2000s as Apple continuously improved upon the core foundation of Mac OS X and progressively enhanced its hardware.



In the middle of the 2000s, Jobs directed Apple to switch from PowerPC chips to Intel, a move that enabled Mac users to run Windows, therefore making its machines more accessible to corporate users and others that still needed to work in the Windows world.

Around the same time, Apple also began work on developing a tablet computer, efforts that materialized in the iPhone in 2007. The iPhone and its scaled down version of Mac OS X, eventually named iOS, would become a much larger business than the Macintosh itself.

By the end of the decade, Jobs launched the iPad as a full priced tablet computer, with its road to revenues paved by the wildly successful iPhone. While the iPhone had entered a fiercely competitive, deeply entrenched market and embarrassed all incumbents while rocketing upward to become the top selling phone globally, the iPad, like the iPod before it, largely created its own market, one that competitors have yet to encroach upon.

Between 2001 and 2010, the market value of Apple's shares grew from a split adjusted $10 to $315, leaving the company the most valuable technology company on the planet, earning the most revenues and the most profit. Apple had broken out of its limited niche in computing, took over and transformed the market for music and movies with the iPod and iTunes, mastered the mobile phone industry (where its only remaining credible competitor is an open source project offering itself for free) and introduced a new mobile form factor in computing with the first successful tablet.

A world without Apple's NeXT

Without NeXT, and without the drive and creativity and vision of Jobs, the man behind the company Apple purchased 15 years ago, Apple Computer would likely have instead simply been bought out and dismantled before the 90s had even ended. The Macintosh would have become a footnote in history much like the Amiga.

The personal audio player market would likely have been dominated by Microsoft and its PlaysForSure system, which locked down songs and limited which ones users could burn to mix CDs at the whim of publishers.

Without Mac OS X, Microsoft would still be working on versions of Windows 2000 (not XP, which was named to coincide with Apple's product). There would be no Windows Vista/7 and its advanced GPU driven compositing graphics engine that was derived directly from Apple's pioneering efforts with Mac OS X's Quartz Compositing.

Without the iPhone, there would be no easy to use touchscreen mobile devices. Instead, Android would look just as it did before the iPhone: a button-centric alternative to PalmOS and Windows Mobile and the Blackberry, none of which would have changed much in the past four years. There would be no tablets. There would be no effort to build Ultrabooks just like the MacBook Air. We'd only have a wide variety of cheap, low quality netbooks to choose from.

The profits of Nokia, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Palm, HP, Adobe and others would be largely unchallenged, preventing them from extending much effort to improve their offerings. Microsoft wouldn't be building a low cost App Store for its mobile and desktop platforms, and Google would still be focused on selling low end notebooks that can only browse the web. The companies that today are failing and don't know why or how to stop failing would still be running the tech industry.

What's next for Apple

While the world this year lost the man who founded both Apple and NeXT, and who managed to fix Apple after it strayed away from his vision, and who assembled a team capable of restoring the notion of greatness being at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, Jobs has left behind a clear legacy that begs to be followed, not just by his executive team at Apple, but by other companies around the world.

Apple is stronger than ever as a company. It has global retail operations in place, a strong position in mobile and desktop products, sits on the bleeding edge of research and development and is flush with cash, all things it desperately lacked 15 years ago.

But Apple also now has the ability to recognize when its failing and take action. Over the past 15 years, Apple has grown capable of backing out of efforts that were losing money, even if the strategy appeared to be right. Apple pushed into the server market with the Xserve, Xserve RAID and Xsan, only to find that simply offering a much cheaper alternative wasn't going to suffice in a market that demanded handholding customer service and support.

Apple has learned that quitting when you're in the wrong place is as important to success as pushing ahead when you're on the right track. Apple has similarly scaled back its Pro Apps to deliver powerful functionality for the mainstream, rather than trying to cater to tiny minorities of pro users that can be better served by specialist developers. And its executives regularly repeat the idea that Apple knows what not to do.

Just fifteen years ago, Apple couldn't say no, couldn't say yes, couldn't deliver upon its plans, and couldn't convince investors that it was worth believing in. It's been a remarkable decade and a half for the company that rediscovered its founder and reshaped the industry to fit his vision.
post #2 of 69
Interesting read...
post #3 of 69
I recalled being in Hong Kong at the time reading the story from a Mac Performa at a retail store.
post #4 of 69
I agree, very interesting read. When programming objects I still see NS nomenclature that originated with NextStep. The NextStep prefix (NS) is used extensively on MacOS and even iOS programming.

Such as NSStrings, NSDictionary, or NSUrl. The list is very long!
post #5 of 69
Yes, very interesting, indeed. Where does DED get all of his history info from? A compilation from Wikipedia and other various sources?

Can't wait for the trollers to pick apart some of the statements in this article!

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

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Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

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post #6 of 69
Very nicely written, DED.

I learned a lot and I appreciated the effort to add context. I hope that the facts are all accurate.


But seriously, I think that the Feature format works VERY well. It allows a lot of latitude, and gives a lot of opportunities for original insights.Features seem to suit your style much more so than straight news articles. News doesn't allow for as much Why as feature writing does.
post #7 of 69
A company I worked at in the late 80's, early 90's bought a few NeXT workstations for graphics work. I didn't have one for a primary workstation, but the "I.S. Department" (that's what we were called back in the day) had one so we can troubleshoot system issues when designers called us. I don't recall the software package the designers were using, but I do recall it having similarity to Adobe Illustrator. May have been... I don't know, but it was pretty cool.

Considering that we were in the DOS, Windows 3.x era back then, these machines and the NeXT OS was akin to having access to classified alien technology. They were really, really slick machines back then. It made Windows (now and then) look totally ghetto by comparison.

And now, decades later, we're still blessed with NeXT DNA in our Macs and iOS devices. Sweet.
post #8 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Can't wait for the trollers to pick apart some of the statements in this article!

I'd rather wait, or hope they have a moment of clarity and decide to venture outside and get a life.
post #9 of 69
I miss Yellow Box and WebObjects.

YB was one of the few things I've seen that had at least the potential to eventually make a dent in Microsoft's dominance.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #10 of 69
Hi Daniel,

I enjoyed the article, but there is one typo that may confuse less-avid followers of Apple's mercurial co-founder :

"...after Jobs left in 1996 to start NeXT..."

Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985 and founded NEXT later the same year.

Regards,
Bob
post #11 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

YB was one of the few things I've seen that had at least the potential to eventually make a dent in Microsoft's dominance.

You're right about this, I suspect Apple is still using the YB for porting Safari and iTunes on Windows.

Apple last "cry of swan" could be releasing OS X unlock and distributing freely, it would be a instant death kiss to Windows. But It won't happen as long as Apple won't go bankruptcy.
post #12 of 69
It's not NeXT 4.0beta. NeXT timeline ended with 4.2. NeXT 4.0 Beta is Mecca. By the way, Mecca runs in a VM today. Several of us at NeXT made sure we kept shrink wrapped copies of it.
post #13 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

I agree, very interesting read. When programming objects I still see NS nomenclature that originated with NextStep. The NextStep prefix (NS) is used extensively on MacOS and even iOS programming.

Such as NSStrings, NSDictionary, or NSUrl. The list is very long!

NS does not stand for NeXStep. NS represented the next phase, OpenStep. Prior to the OpenStep initiative it was (NX) which stood for NeXT, It was NXString, NXDictionary, etc. The switch to OSString, OSDictionary didn't seem right so it was deemed NS as the new prefix.
post #14 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

By the way, Mecca runs in a VM today.

I've try many time, and I've never pass the boot screen (deadlock when loading kext), But would love to get my hand on Nextstep.
post #15 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMac2 View Post

I've try many time, and I've never pass the boot screen (deadlock when loading kext), But would love to get my hand on Nextstep.

Have you tried this?
http://www.moldus.org/~laurent/GNUst...2_Install.html
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #16 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Additionally, Apple cracked open the highly proprietary worlds of audio streaming, video encoding and distribution by supporting MP3, AAC, and MPEG H.264, defeating plans by Sony and Microsoft to replace open audio playback with proprietary standards intended to lock down music.

Bravo! How quickly people forget this. The fandroids still rail at Apple for locking down music with DRM, years after they went DRM-free. The whole world owes Apple a debt of gratitude for defeating Windows Media audio and video.
post #17 of 69
Good read, thanks
post #18 of 69
Good story, Daniel. I'm just reaching this point in the Apple story in Michael Malone's Infinite Loop. So thanks for the alternate view here, although you and Malone may tell it the same way, we'll see.

Edit: What's the deal? Gruber links to the original Apple press release today, but not to your story here. How come everybody knows -- you and he -- it was 15 years ago today?

By the way, anyone who hasn't read Malone's book (1999), it's quite a read. John Siracusa mentioned it as a contrast to the Isaacson book, on his show with Dan Benjamin.
post #19 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMac2 View Post

I've try many time, and I've never pass the boot screen (deadlock when loading kext), But would love to get my hand on Nextstep.

You'll get current info here:

http://www.nextcomputers.org/forums/
post #20 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post

Good story, Daniel. I'm just reaching this point in the Apple story in Michael Malone's Infinite Loop. So thanks for the alternate view here, although you and Malone may tell it the same way, we'll see.

Edit: What's the deal? Gruber links to the original Apple press release today, but not to your story here. How come everybody knows -- you and he -- it was 15 years ago today?

By the way, anyone who hasn't read Malone's book (1999), it's quite a read. John Siracusa mentioned it as a contrast to the Isaacson book, on his show with Dan Benjamin.

The official day was December 20, 1996.

http://web.archive.org/web/200202081....rel.next.html
post #21 of 69
I still have my original 68030 motherboard and a functioning 68040 NeXT Cube. The optical drive was fantastic, when it worked. The smallest dust contamination killed it, however.

As someone stated earlier, the Apps were leaps ahead of what was available on the Mac and PCs and I happily used my NeXT to sail through college.

I still fondly remember the U.W. computer show back then where the NeXT booth dominated with all their cool hardware and software. There were many aspects of the NeXT OS that I miss, even today.

I fondly remember WriteNow, WingZ and TopDraw. The only thing I disliked was the horrible feel of the keyboard.

Thanks for a great article. Brought back some fond memories.
post #22 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I don't recall the software package the designers were using, but I do recall it having similarity to Adobe Illustrator. May have been... I don't know, but it was pretty cool.

Perhaps Macromedia's Virtuoso? (The folks who brought you Freehand and Flash.)
post #23 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Yes, very interesting, indeed. Where does DED get all of his history info from? A compilation from Wikipedia and other various sources?

Can't wait for the trollers to pick apart some of the statements in this article!

My take is that it is a conflation of history, legend, conjecture, and stuff that he pulled from his butt.

Part of the legend is that Apple between Jobs was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Well, for a while Apple did bleed red ink for 18 months or so. [I am will to be corrected on the exact length of time that it ran a deficit.] Bankruptcy means that the company can't pay its obligations. However, I am aware of no time that Apple did not have at least $4 billion in cash reserves.

On the product side, a reading of the facts in the column makes it clear that Apple's product problems centered around two issues; (1) a product line that was too broad, and (2) an irrational supply chain. The solution was to simplify some products offerings and to eliminate other product categories. If you were an Apple customer, the most significant disruption to your purchase plans was probably Apple's elimination of its line of printers.

On the OS side of things, Apple abandoned Copland, the code name for the developmental version of System 8. However, Copland's failure was not a technical one, it was an internal political failure. Apple set as a goal of System 8 that it be preemptive multiuser multitasking operating system that was 100%-compatible with System 7. The requirement that it be 100%-compatible with System 7 proved to be a "bridge too far." The technical features of Copland worked. Many of them were incorporated into System 7.5. Ironically, Classic was probably less compatible with System 7 than System 8 would have been.

It is worth noting that the extant version of Windows when Apple killed Copland was Windows 95. [Start me up.]

OpenSTEP was the extant OS that was closest to Apple's goals for Copland. However, it took Apple five years to bring its OpenSTEP-derived MacOS X to market after it abandoned Copland. Sometimes you can't solve a problem until you step back and take a different tack. However, one can only imagine what Copland could have become if it had been given that additional five years.

The notion that Apple was doomed without Jobs is nonsense. Jobs was forced out at Apple in 1985. The extant Macintosh was the Macintosh 512Ke and a year prior to the introduction of the Macintosh Plus. The Apple Scanner, Macintosh II, TrueType, System 7, the PowerPC transition and other products and technologies too numerous to mention were developed while Jobs was gone. Make no mistake--I believe that Steve Jobs was probably the most brilliant corporate executive of my lifetime. However, Apple has been blessed [and cursed] with a lot of brilliant people.

Obviously, Apple would be a different company today if Steve Jobs had not returned. However, I have no doubt that without Jobs Apple would still be around with throngs of devoted customers like me.
post #24 of 69
Thanks, I enjoyed reading this as well.
post #25 of 69
Good article, outlines a lot of the efforts Steve Jobs put to make the world a better place.

From the first Apple product I bought - an iPod Nano - the feel has always been so great. The amount of thought put into making each product better is wonderful. As a hackintosh user, experiencing the beauty and simplicity of Mac OS X felt really awesome. The iMac I eventually bought has so many useful features, yet is so simple to use in the end.

Thank you Steve Jobs, and thanks to the wonderful people who have worked together on such innovative, awesome stuff.
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post #26 of 69
That was a nice read - stuff missing from the authorised biography that I would have loved to read about. Of course, the "what if" and "what next" sections are mere speculation, but I loved reading about the OS evolution.

Special thanks to mydriftmeyer for the link. I want to try installing NeXTStep using VMWare Fusion. I just need to check how do-able it is.
post #27 of 69
You forgot the $500MM "investment" from Microsoft to keep them afloat. They were on deaths doorstep and Microsoft was keenly interested in keeping them afloat so they wouldn't attract any more anti-trust attention.
post #28 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukor View Post

You forgot the $500MM "investment" from Microsoft to keep them afloat. They were on deaths doorstep and Microsoft was keenly interested in keeping them afloat so they wouldn't attract any more anti-trust attention.

This was directed at the reply from Mr. Me.
post #29 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukor View Post

You forgot the $500MM "investment" from Microsoft to keep them afloat. They were on deaths doorstep and Microsoft was keenly interested in keeping them afloat so they wouldn't attract any more anti-trust attention.

it was $150M, not 500M, and that was at a time when the Apple had over a billion in cash reserves.

Make no mistake, that totally insignificant investment was only done for the public, to make it help keep confidence that Apple was sticking around and keep developers happy.

Proven by the fact that even today , people like you still refer to it and think it was important.
It was a publicity stunt that worked. All the journos wrote about it as though MS took over Apple.

It would be like me giving you $1 today and claiming that I "saved" you. Who would listen?
But if Donald Trump did it, then the world would listen and believe him.
post #30 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanie248 View Post

it was $150M, not 500M, and that was at a time when the Apple had over a billion in cash reserves.

Make no mistake, that totally insignificant investment was only done for the public, to make it help keep confidence that Apple was sticking around and keep developers happy.

Proven by the fact that even today , people like you still refer to it and think it was important.
It was a publicity stunt that worked. All the journos wrote about it as though MS took over Apple.

It would be like me giving you $1 today and claiming that I "saved" you. Who would listen?
But if Donald Trump did it, then the world would listen and believe him.


Neither of you are correct, and both are. First, it was a significant investment. I don't have the cash reserve figures, but assuming you're correct...remember that Apple was losing up to $700 million a quarter until Jobs came back. Apple was getting close to bankruptcy. The $150 million didn't save them, but it wasn't just a PR stunt, either...though I agree part of it was restoring confidence.
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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post #31 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukor View Post

You forgot the $500MM "investment" from Microsoft to keep them afloat. They were on deaths doorstep and Microsoft was keenly interested in keeping them afloat so they wouldn't attract any more anti-trust attention.


It was $150M, not $500M.
post #32 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukor View Post

You forgot the $500MM "investment" from Microsoft to keep them afloat. They were on deaths doorstep and Microsoft was keenly interested in keeping them afloat so they wouldn't attract any more anti-trust attention.

It was $150 million publicly and an undisclosed sum privately. Also, as part of the agreement Apple dropped the Windows lawsuit that had been raging and costing millions each year.
post #33 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by podlasek View Post

It was $150 million publicly and an undisclosed sum privately. Also, as part of the agreement Apple dropped the Windows lawsuit that had been raging and costing millions each year.

See DED's article on this: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM...842A41BD1.html

I cannot find the relevant figures in this series of articles, but I recall seeing that the amount secretly paid to Apple by Microsoft to settle this may have been as much as US $2 billion. Whatever the actual figure, it was way more than the $150 million publicly quoted "investment".

Apple was fortunate in being able to catch Microsoft out on this "piracy", but at the same time it indicates how desperate Microsoft was to dominate electronic media at the time and resorted to effectively stealing Apple's superior QuickTime technology. Microsoft may have been fortunate that all it had to do was pay up rather than face the consequences of its crime.
post #34 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukor View Post

You forgot the $500MM "investment" from Microsoft to keep them afloat. They were on deaths doorstep and Microsoft was keenly interested in keeping them afloat so they wouldn't attract any more anti-trust attention.

Most of that was in Microsoft's favor as they were facing a multi-billion dollar law suit from Apple and anti-trust issues from the government. Propping up Apple not only help detract from their monopoly, but also made them a nice return, settled outstanding lawsuits, AND gave Microsoft something else to copy from for the next 15 years.

That $150M "investment" is probably one of the greatest moves Steve Jobs ever made in the chess game of Apple vs. Microsoft. In fact, it could be one of the most historic moves ever made by a CEO. Who else could get a bitter rival to invest $150M in what appears to be a lost cause? Who else could then use that momentum to eclipse the rival company while at the same time holding them contractually obligated to develop software (Office and IE) for their competing platform? Steve F-ing Jobs, that's who.
post #35 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

There would be no tablets. There would be no effort to build Ultrabooks just like the MacBook Air. We'd only have a wide variety of cheap, low quality netbooks to choose from.

There were tablets. Just not a lot of them. And Sony was make ultrathin TZ series laptops before the Macbook Air came out. You probably don't know that Apple hired the retired Sony engineer who designed those expensive, ultra-thin Sony laptops. You could have gone out and done some real reporting. Just saying.
post #36 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukor View Post

You forgot the $500MM "investment" from Microsoft to keep them afloat. They were on deaths doorstep and Microsoft was keenly interested in keeping them afloat so they wouldn't attract any more anti-trust attention.

In my opinion, Apple would have gone bankrupt without Microsoft's $500 million.
But Jobs is not inclined to show any gratitude. He just sticks it to Gates.
post #37 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by eric475 View Post

In my opinion, Apple would have gone bankrupt without Microsoft's $500 million.
But Jobs is not inclined to show any gratitude. He just sticks it to Gates.

That's exactly right except for everything you wrote. You might want to actually look stuff up before posting next time.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #38 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by eric475 View Post

In my opinion, Apple would have gone bankrupt without Microsoft's $500 million.
But Jobs is not inclined to show any gratitude. He just sticks it to Gates.

Please don't keep pushing the rope that Apple received $500 million from Microsoft. As others have stated, Apple caught Microsoft dead to rights having stolen QuickTime for incorporation into Video for Windows, now Windows Media.

Microsoft knew that it would lose if the case ever made it to court. Apple knew that Microsoft would fight tooth and nail to defend the lawsuit. Steve Jobs acted like a grownup. He went to Gates and said, "Let's not fight, let's do business."

Having Microsoft Office on the Mac was more important to Jobs than having a victory in court. Gates agreed return Office to the Mac. He also agreed to buy $150 million in non-voting Apple shares.

I have followed this for the entirety of these past 15 years. This forum is the first place where I have seen anyone claim that Microsoft paid Apple $500 million. For the sake of argument, let us pretend that this is true. At the time of the settlement, Apple had $4 billion in case reserves. A $500 million payment would have been 12.5% of Apple's cash reserves. This alleged sum was less than the $700 quarterly loss repeated by SDW2001. Steve Jobs was a billionaire. This means that the alleged $500 million payment was a tiny fraction of Steve Jobs's net worth. Remember that Jobs worked for US$1.00 at the time.

The takeaway message is that Microsoft's payment to Apple--whether it was $150 million or $500 million--was too small to have a significant affect on Apple's long-term prospects.

Microsoft fans clearly cannot do math. They also have no sense of how business works. There were many options available to Microsoft to get out of its pickle if Apple were as weak as they want to believe:
  1. Wait them out. This is what a big company does when a dying plaintiff files a claim. The courts are slow. When a big company is the defendant in a lawsuit, the courts can be glacial. Microsoft could have simply slowed the case to a crawl until Apple went bankrupt--if Apple were in danger of bankruptcy.
  2. Buy them out. An Apple as weak as the Microsoft fanboys delude themselves it was could have been picked-up for a song. Microsoft could have done what was fairly standard practice: sell-off pieces of the company to others.
Make no mistake. Microsoft never wanted Apple to go away. It wanted only to control Apple. An Apple teetering on the edge of oblivion would have been Microsoft's best opportunity to control its more innovative rival. The fact that nothing like this happened is lost on Microsoft fanboys.
post #39 of 69
Looking to the left on my desk, there stands a NeXTdimension Turbo Cube. Given that the 21" NeXT monitor (built by Hitachi, a 40kg monster, I stlll have it) is dead, it is connected to a LaCie photon20vision LCD. And I have an OpenStep VM that runs in parallels on my iMac.

Nostalgia indeed. Then there were the specials some firms created for the NeXT. Like the Singular Solutions A/D64x A/D converter that was professional grade and could record 48kHz 16bit directly to the NeXT via the DSP port (I still have it in storage and it still works). And the German i.link modem/telephone answering service that used the DSP as well (sold that one years ago). The NeXTdimension board is 32bit colour (24bit colour, 8bit alpha) and it is based on intel's first attempt at a RISC chip, the i860. It runs its own Mach kernel and mainly only does bit blitting and PostScript rendering. I had a VCR attached to it so I could watch TV while I was working, using the VCR's tuner. In 1992/3 or so, but that also still works. The NeXTPrinter did 400dpi and was cheap, because it did not need small computer inside. PostScript was rendered on the NeXT, and then one of the 7 (or so) independent I/O processors on the motherboard moved the data to the laser printer while the CPU independently kept doing productive work. The main board of the NeXT was designed for maximum throughput with tricks that were otherwise mainly found in mainframes. That was at the time that a "mathematical co-processor" for floating point was an option on 386 PCs.

And software. The Lotus Improv story is worth telling, these days its easy of use/manipulation and use of symbolic names (profit = revenue - cost) instead of cell addresses (A6=B5-G8) and it was multidimensional.


Improv-Window-BeforeArrange by gctwnl, on Flickr


Improv-Window-AfterArrange by gctwnl, on Flickr

Wordperfect had a NeXT version which was pretty decent (better than any other version). Or the TeX environment, which felt blazingly fast because the viewer started to display the first page of the document as soon as it was rendered. And of course, NeXTSTEP is PostScript throughout, so no difference between screen and paper. And Concurrence, or Omni products (yes, the same Omni of OmniGraffle) or Stone Design's Create (still available for OSX). And a system where years after NeXT stopped maintaining it, the Object oriented nature enabled users to retroactively add functionality to existing programs (e.g, someone write a plugin and suddenly all programs using the text object was capable of displaying HTML or inline JPEG, which the system originally could not do. And of course, because it was a BSD Unix as well, we had Postgres (now PostgreSQL, back on Lion), Squid, postfix (current OS X Server MTA), web servers, etc.

And developing. NeXT cranked out kits like crazy (but had no time left to maintain the unix base properly): MusicKit, SoundKit, Enterprise Objects Framework, WebObjects, etc. etc. And developing once, and running identical on 4 hardware platforms (m68k, x86, sparc, hppa) with 'fat binaries'.

±400 photo's available here of my NeXT collection: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gctwnl/ including some very rare items (like original 1989 marketing materials, golden master of NeXTSTEP 3.3, publications, original packaging, etc.). It's like having a really nice collection of stuff of Edison or Ford in their early days, before the big successes. The second set also has a few movies, like the infamous (because of copyright problems) 'flying toasters' screen saver or OmniWeb 3 starting up and displaying the NeXT page on Wikipedia. This is the real NeXT running, not the VM.

Here is a nice tidbit: Nügi button for Steve:


Nügi Steve Jobs Button by gctwnl, on Flickr

Here is the VM running on my iMac:


OPENSTEP running in Parallels on iMac by gctwnl, on Flickr

Inside of premiere NeXTworld issue:


NeXTWORLD Magazine Premiere Issue Vol. 1, No. 2. Jan/Feb 1991. NeXT Insert by gctwnl, on Flickr
post #40 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

Please don't keep pushing the rope that Apple received $500 million from Microsoft. As others have stated, Apple caught Microsoft dead to rights having stolen QuickTime for incorporation into Video for Windows, now Windows Media.

Microsoft knew that it would lose if the case ever made it to court. Apple knew that Microsoft would fight tooth and nail to defend the lawsuit. Steve Jobs acted like a grownup. He went to Gates and said, "Let's not fight, let's do business."

Having Microsoft Office on the Mac was more important to Jobs than having a victory in court. Gates agreed return Office to the Mac. He also agreed to buy $150 million in non-voting Apple shares.

I have followed this for the entirety of these past 15 years. This forum is the first place where I have seen anyone claim that Microsoft paid Apple $500 million. For the sake of argument, let us pretend that this is true. At the time of the settlement, Apple had $4 billion in case reserves. A $500 million payment would have been 12.5% of Apple's cash reserves. This alleged sum was less than the $700 quarterly loss repeated by SDW2001. Steve Jobs was a billionaire. This means that the alleged $500 million payment was a tiny fraction of Steve Jobs's net worth. Remember that Jobs worked for US$1.00 at the time.

The takeaway message is that Microsoft's payment to Apple--whether it was $150 million or $500 million--was too small to have a significant affect on Apple's long-term prospects.

Microsoft fans clearly cannot do math. They also have no sense of how business works. There were many options available to Microsoft to get out of its pickle if Apple were as weak as they want to believe:
  1. Wait them out. This is what a big company does when a dying plaintiff files a claim. The courts are slow. When a big company is the defendant in a lawsuit, the courts can be glacial. Microsoft could have simply slowed the case to a crawl until Apple went bankrupt--if Apple were in danger of bankruptcy.
  2. Buy them out. An Apple as weak as the Microsoft fanboys delude themselves it was could have been picked-up for a song. Microsoft could have done what was fairly standard practice: sell-off pieces of the company to others.
Make no mistake. Microsoft never wanted Apple to go away. It wanted only to control Apple. An Apple teetering on the edge of oblivion would have been Microsoft's best opportunity to control its more innovative rival. The fact that nothing like this happened is lost on Microsoft fanboys.


For the record, I am not a Microsoft fan. I have also been an Apple fan and share holder to this day. The investment didn't save Apple, Jobs did. No doubt that they would have been out of business with his vision and drive, but the loan did install confidence that there would continue to be software to run on the Mac, which was increasingly viewed as a dying platform.
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