A profile of Steve Jobs, recently resigned Apple CEO, from the New Yorker in September, 1997. Jobs had just come back from an oblivion, with Apple having purchased his ailing but visionary company NeXT, and the speculation and hype and worry was in abundance. One tid-pit to highlight how much Jobs was up against, and how well he ended up doing.
In the high-tech industry, purchasing NeXT was seen as a risky, and even a foolish, move. Originally, NeXT had manufactured a black, cube-shaped computer targeted at businesses. But its pricey hardware—ten thousand dollars a box—was a bust, and, by the time Jobs had turned NeXT into a pure software firm, in 1993, its formerly cutting-edge technology had been overtaken. Few people believed NeXT was worth anywhere near what Amelio had paid. “It was a terrible acquisition,” Graziano, a friend of Jobs’s who now sits on the Pixar board, told me. “The whole idea that Apple could now break into the corporate market—ridiculous! Businesses hate Apple. And the technology was a waste; I’m not sure it’ll ever be used.” Graziano added, “But it could turn out to have been a good thing, because it got Steve reengaged.”