Ben & David broadcast live from the 2016 GeekWire Summit covering one of the all-time greats, Apple’s 1996 acquisition of NeXT. This episode has it all: the Steve Jobs hero story, Apple, I.M. Pei, Ross Perot, Aaron Sorkin, Nobel Laureates and… Gil Amelio? Does NeXT rank atop the best acquisitions ever? Our own heroes cast their votes.
Topics covered include:
- 1980’s era Apple, entering the age of the “workstation”, with John Sculley as CEO and Steve Jobs leading the newly formed SuperMicro division working on building the “BigMac"
- Jobs’ exile to "Siberia”, and chance meeting with Nobel Laureate Paul Berg that sowed the seeds of NeXT
- Jobs’ resignation from Apple on September 13, 1985 to start NeXT, taking with him SuperMicro division employees Joanna Hoffman, Bud Tribble, George Crow, Rich Page, Susan Barnes, Susan Kare, and Dan'l Lewin
- Apple’s subsequent lawsuit against Jobs and, Steve’s classic quote in response: "It is hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300-plus people couldn't compete with six people in blue jeans."
- NeXT’s “anti lean startup” approach, spending $100k on brand identity and moving into I.M. Pei designed offices
- Ross Perot’s $20M investment in NeXT
- The first NeXT computer (fun unboxing video) product launch, dubbed "The NeXT Introduction” on October 12, 1988 (one of the three scenes in the Aaron Sorkin Steve Jobs movie)
- The NeXTSTEP operating system as the first “modern” OS (including Object-oriented programming), and like the Mac equally descended from Xerox PARC
- Major technologies developed on NeXT computers, including the first web browser and Doom
- NeXT’s exit from the hardware business and transition to a software-only model with OPENSTEP
- Apple’s failed internal projects to develop a modern OS, culminating in the acquisition of NeXT in December 1996
- Steve Jobs’ return to Apple, public lack of faith in the then-current board and management, and maneuvering to return to the CEO role
- The transformation of NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP into OS X, and ultimately iOS, watchOS, tvOS, etc.
The Carve Out:
- Ben: Stewart Butterfield (Cofounder/CEO of Slack) on the The Ezra Klein Show
- David: DJI and the Rise of the Robomasters