On this day, 34 years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the NeXT computer in San Francisco. Jobs founded NeXT Inc. after leaving the company he co-founded, Apple Computer, in 1985.
And the New York Times business section declared: “Steven P. Jobs is back.”
The personal computer industry’s boy wonder, who founded Apple Computer when he was 21 years old, today introduced the new machine on which he hopes to once again ascend to the top of the computer world. And the machine drew some rave reviews.
To a hushed crowd of 3,000 at Davies Symphony Hall here, Mr. Jobs introduced the machine – a black magnesium cube housing the electronics, accompanied by an erasable optical disk storage device and a large black-and-white screen capable of displaying photographic-quality images… the general public will not be able to buy the machines. They will be sold only to universities. It is considered likely that eventually the computer will be marketed to businesses and the general public as well, though for a higher price.
The Unix-based NeXTSTEP operating system powered a workstation priced at $6,500, which included software, monitor and an optical disk. The NY Times noted: “It also includes eight million bytes of internal memory capacity.” That was an astonishing amount of memory for the time.
Tim Berners-Lee used a NeXT computer when he created the world’s first web server and browser. The first server on the World Wide Web was a NeXT computer. “Do not power it down!”
In 1993, NeXT stopped focusing on hardware and “put it its focus to the real innovation: software.” Apple bought the company in 1996 for for $427 million. That purchase provided the foundation for the operating system that powers Apple computers today.