NeXT, Inc.
Founded1985 (1985)
FounderSteve Jobs
Defunct1996 (1996)
FateMerged into Apple Computer
SuccessorApple Computer
Key people
Number of employees
530 (1993) (archived)

NeXT, Inc. (later NeXT Computer, Inc. and NeXT Software, Inc.) was an American technology company that specialized in computer workstations intended for higher education and business use. Based in Redwood City, California, and founded by Apple Computer co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs after he was forced out of Apple, the company introduced their first product, the NeXT Computer, in 1988, and then the smaller NeXTcube and NeXTstation in 1990. These computers had relatively limited sales, with only about 50,000 units shipped in total. Nevertheless, their object-oriented programming and graphical user interfaces were trendsetters of computer innovation, and highly influential.

NeXT partnered with Sun Microsystems to create a programming environment called OpenStep, which was the NeXTSTEP operating system's application layer hosted on a third-party operating system. In 1993, NeXT withdrew from the hardware industry to concentrate on marketing OPENSTEP for Mach, its own OpenStep implementation, for several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). NeXT also developed WebObjects, one of the first enterprise web application frameworks, and although it was not very popular because of its high price of $50,000, it is a prominent early example of a web server that is based on dynamic page generation rather than static content.

Apple purchased NeXT in 1997 for $429 million and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock, and Jobs, the Chairman and CEO of NeXT, was given an advisory role at Apple. Apple also promised that NeXT's operating system would be ported to Macintosh hardware, and combined with the classic Mac OS operating system, which would yield Mac OS X, later called macOS.

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