Today in Apple history: Apple brings back Steve Jobs with NeXT buyout

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Steve Jobs returned to Apple on December 20, 1996.
Steve Jobs pictured on December 20, 1996.
Photo: Tim Holmes/Flickr CC

December 20: Today in Apple history: Apple buys NeXT for $429 million, bringing Steve Jobs back to Cupertino December 20, 1996: Apple Computer buys NeXT, the computer company Steve Jobs founded after leaving Cupertino a decade earlier.

The deal costs Apple $429 million. It’s a massive price to pay for the failing NeXT, which already saw its hardware division crash and burn. The price is worth it when you consider what Apple gets as part of the deal, however: the return of Steve Jobs.

Today in Apple history: A phone call sows the seeds of OS X

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Look familiar? NeXT's OpenStep operating system laid the groundwork for OS X.
Look familiar?
Photo: The Color Convergence

Nov 25: Today in Apple history: The seeds of OS X are sown with NeXT OpenStep November 25, 1996: A midlevel manager at NeXT contacts Apple about the possibility of Cupertino licensing NeXT’s OpenStep operating system.

Garrett L. Rice’s communication with Ellen Hancock, Apple’s chief technology officer, is the first formal step in a long process. It ultimately leads to Apple buying NeXT, the creation of OS X, and Steve Jobs returning home to the company he co-founded.

Today in Apple history: Turnaround artist Gil Amelio joins Apple’s board

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Photo: Apple

November 9: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio joins Apple board of directors November 9, 1994: Gil Amelio, a businessman with a reputation as a talented turnaround artist, joins Apple’s board.

Coming off his impressive revitalization of National Semiconductor and Rockwell International, Amelio’s appointment at Apple sparks widespread celebration. Many Apple watchers think his arrival means the company’s dark days are over. Sadly, Amelio’s turnaround tricks won’t work in Cupertino.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs leaves and rejoins Apple

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Steve Jobs before and after, with maybe a little judgement about water sales.
Two significant days in Jobs' career took place on this day.
Photo: Fulvio Obregon

September 16: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs leaves and rejoins Apple September 16, 1985 and 1997: Twice on this day, Steve Jobs makes significant moves with regard to his career at Apple. In 1985, he quits the company he co-founded. Then, a decade and a half later, he officially rejoins Apple as its new interim CEO.

In terms of the emotions associated with those historic occasions, it’s hard to think of two more polarizing days in Jobs’ life.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs flip-flops on the Newton

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The Newton MessagePad 2000 brought many upgrades to Apple's doomed PDA line.
The Newton MessagePad went from hero to zero overnight.
Photo: iFixit

September 4: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs flip-flops on the Apple Newton PDA September 4, 1997: The writing is on the wall for Apple’s Newton product line as Steve Jobs tells executives at the newly spun-off company not to bother moving into their new offices.

It’s quite the turnaround for the Newton division. Only months earlier, it was being portrayed as large enough to become its own company.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs begins his path back to the top

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Steve_Jobs_2007
This marked the start of Apple's turnaround.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

July 8: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs begins his journey to Apple CEO July 8, 1997: Steve Jobs begins his path to becoming chief executive officer of Apple, after former CEO Gil Amelio departs the company on the back of a massive quarterly loss. Also leaving Apple is Ellen Hancock, executive vice president of technology.

To run Apple’s day-to-day operations, CFO Fred Anderson takes over until a new CEO can be found. Jobs, meanwhile, moves from strategic adviser to take “a more expanded role with Apple’s board and executive management team.” The turnaround has started!

Today in Apple history: After a horrible quarter, Gil Amelio gets the boot

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
This was the end of Amelio's 500 days running Apple.
Photo: Apple

July 6: Today in Apple history: After a horrible quarter, Apple CEO Gil Amelio is fired July 6, 1997: Following a massive quarterly loss for Apple, board member Edgar S. Woolard Jr. calls CEO Gil Amelio and informs him that he needs to step down. “You’ve done a lot to help the company, but the sales haven’t rebounded,” Woolard says.

Steve Jobs denies being responsible for Amelio’s ouster. However, the move results in him becoming Apple CEO for the first time. Now it’s time for a real turnaround!

Today in Apple history: Terrible quarter marks the end for Gil Amelio as CEO

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Apple losses Gil Amelio
Apple wasn't always a global behemoth.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

June 27: Today in Apple history: Terrible quarter marks the end for Apple CEO Gil Amelio June 27, 1997: The last day of another disappointing quarter brings an end to CEO Gil Amelio’s 500 days running Apple.

The $56 million quarterly loss contributes to an overall deficit of $1.6 billion during Amelio’s reign. The slump effectively wipes out every cent of profit Cupertino earned since fiscal 1991. After losing money for six out of the last seven quarters, Apple seems past the point of no return.

Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker peaks before a dizzying decline

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Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
Power Computing's clone Macs were built for speed.
Photo: Antnik

June 4: Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker Power Computing peaks, begins rapid decline June 4, 1997: Mac clone-maker Power Computing hits its high point — but it’s also the beginning of the end.

Power Computing’s boss reaches an agreement with Apple CEO Gil Amelio concerning the forthcoming Mac OS 8. The deal allows the company to start making moves toward an IPO as the fastest-growing PC company of the decade. Things don’t turn out quite so well!