NeXT Software, Inc.

(Redwood City, California, Founded 1986 - Dissolved 1996)

Steve Jobs is widely known as the founder of Apple Computer — but it's a lesser known fact that in 1986, after he sold all but one share of his stock in Apple, Jobs founded a second company called NeXT. NeXT was one of the first companies in Silicon Valley to employ interface design as a way to demystify and socialize the personal computer.

NeXT's main products were the NeXTSTEP operating system, on which many of today's user interfaces (including the Mac OS X) are based, as well as a computer workstation marketed primarily to educational institutions and boutique business clients. The NeXT workstation featured a distinctive cube shape and a black plastic case created by frogdesign, a San Francisco-based product design firm.

In 1993, NeXT abandoned the hardware side of the business to concentrate on software development, particularly its NeXTSTEP operating system and WebObjects application server. In a final twist of fate, Apple acquired NeXT in 1996, a decade after Jobs's initial departure.

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