Things Fall Apart
When Jobs unveiled the NeXT computer in 1988, there was a burst of excitement.
That fizzled when the computer finally went on sale the following year.
Jobs's ability to dazzle, intimidate, and spin the press began to fail him, and there was a series of stories on the company's woes.
"NeXT is incompatible with other computers at a time when the industry is moving toward interchangeable systems,"
Bart Ziegler of Associated Press reported.
"Because relatively little software exists to run on NeXT, it has a hard time attracting customers."
NeXT tried to reposition itself as the leader in a new category, personal workstations,
for people who wanted the power of a workstation and the friendliness of a personal computer.
But those customers were by now buying them from fast-growing Sun Microsystems.
Revenues for NeXT in 1990 were $28 million; Sun made $2.5 billion that year.
IBM abandoned its deal to license the NeXT software, so Jobs was forced to do something against his nature:
Despite his ingrained belief that hardware and software should be integrally linked,
he agreed in January 1992 to license the NeXTSTEP operating system to run on other computers.