How Apple Park is like Steve Jobs’ ill-fated NeXT Computer

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Apple Park
Both examples of hubris on their creator's part?
Photo: Igor America

Apple Park is a physical manifestation of Steve Jobs’ undying hubris, a monument to fussy perfectionism that’s as crazy as his NeXT Computer, the not-entirely-successful computer he launched after being booted from Apple in 1985.

That’s the premise of a new Bloomberg op-ed, which draws parallels between the new Apple campus and one of Jobs’ most notorious tech launches. It’s interesting, but ultimately wrong. Here’s why.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs’ NeXT quits making computers

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NEXT_Cube-IMG_7154
The NeXT Computer was great. It also didn't sell.
Photo: Rama & Musée Bolo/Wikipedia CC

Feb9February 9, 1993: NeXT Computers, the company Steve Jobs founded after being pushed out of Apple, quits making computers. The company changes its name to NeXT Software and focuses its efforts entirely on building software for other platforms.

In a mass layoff, 330 of NeXT’s 500 employees are made redundant in an event known internally as “Black Tuesday.” Cruelly, many people hear of their fate only after it is reported on the radio.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs’ NeXT gets major cash injection

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Steve Jobs' NeXT Computer was a gorgeous machine for its time.
Photo: Rama & Musée Bolo/Wikipedia CC

monday13 For many Apple fans who remember Steve Jobs only as the austere, turtleneck-wearing digital emperor he was during his CEO stint at Apple, Jobs’ NeXT years — referring to the company he founded after parting ways with Apple in 1985 — are something of a mystery.

In many Jobs biographies, NeXT is often largely skipped over. In fact, the company had its own fascinating trajectory — and one of its big turning points was a June 13, 1989 investment by Canon which (briefly) left Jobs’ would-be Apple beater flush with cash.

Steve Jobs Created The Computer That Gave Us The World Wide Web

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This is the NeXT Computer that Tim Berners-Lee used to create the world wide web.
This is the NeXT Computer that Tim Berners-Lee used to create the world wide web.

CERN has given us many things in our day, most notable among them recent proof of the existence of the so-called ‘God particle’, the Higgs Boson… one of the most elusive objects in particle physics. But like the Higgs Boson, most of CERN’s achievements are pretty exotic.

On April 30 in 1993, though, CERN gave us something it gave all of us something we all use to this day: the worldwide web, software and technology that anyone could use (and everyone did) to build what we, today, called the Internet.

Like many of the revolutions of the computing age, though, the Internet owes a debt of gratitude to Steve Jobs.