Long-lost video shows Steve Jobs launching his biggest failure

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Steve Jobs during the NeXT years.
Steve Jobs during the NeXT years.
Photo: Doug Menuez

Only a handful of products Steve Jobs introduced to the world became flops, but three years after he was kicked out of Apple, the tech visionary unveiled his biggest failure ever: the NeXT computer.

Video footage of Jobs’ first major public appearance since he left Apple in 1985 was lost to the world until researchers for Aaron Sorkin’s movie came across two videotapes of the NeXT’s gala unveiling at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall in 1988.

Looking back, Jobs’ machine was obviously doomed from the start. Not only was its launch delayed until 1989, it also cost $6,500 — plus $2,000 extra if you wanted an external hard drive. That didn’t stop Jobs from pulling out all of his patented charm during the 2.5-hour event.

Calling the NeXT a failure may be a bit unfair. After all, it laid the groundwork for OS X and Jobs’ return to Apple.

NeXT only sold 50,000 units of the expensive machine, but the computer was used to do great things. Tim Berners-Lee designed the World Wide Web on one, and both Doom II and Quake were created on Jobs’ futuristic computer.