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Monday, October 10, 2011

Steve Jobs, This Was Your Life (Part 2)

(Click here for Part 1.)

The 1980s and the early 1990s are the not-so-good years for both Steve Jobs and Apple. Before 1985 ended, Jobs founded NeXT Computer, which intended to develop high-end computers for universities. The first NeXT computers were released in 1990 with a $9,999 price tag, which turned off the educational sector the product intended to cater. Like the Apple Lisa, the NeXT workstation was technologically advanced with its object-oriented software development system.

In 1986, Jobs bought The Graphics Group (later renamed Pixar) from “Star Wars” creator George Lucas for $10 million. Pixar was intended to be a high-end graphics hardware developer. The company attempted to sell the Pixar Image Computer, but it failed in the market. Pixar eventually contracted with Disney to produce computer-animated feature films, which Disney would co-finance and distribute. The partnership turned out to be a success with a string of blockbusters such as Toy Story (1995), Finding Nemo (2003), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), and Up (2009) among others.

Jobs married Laurene Powell, a Stanford MBA graduate, on 1991 in a Zen Buddhist ceremony. The couple have a son and two daughters. Meanwhile, Apple announced an alliance with major information technology company IBM Corp. to develop new PC microprocessors and software. This was also the year when Apple unveiled its portable Macs called PowerBook.

In 1993, Apple introduced the Newton, a handheld, pen-based computer. The consumers did not respond well to the Newton as Apple reported a quarterly loss of $188 million in July. This round of financial struggles caused Apple CEO Sculley to resign and was replaced by Michael Spindler, who dramatically restructured the company. Meanwhile at NeXT, Jobs opted to focus on software development instead of whole computers.

A year later, Apple unveiled Power Macintosh computers. The devices were based on the PowerPC chip the company developed with IBM and Motorola. In what was described as a major mistake for Apple, the company licensed its operating software, which allowed other companies to “clone” the Mac computers.
The first of these clones was released by Microsoft in 1995, which ran on Windows 95 OS. This software was easier to use than previous versions of Windows, worked like the Mac system, and was released on computers that were less expensive than Macs. Apple struggled with the competition while experiencing parts shortage and mistakes in predicting customer demand. This was also the year when Toy Story was released in theaters. Riding on the movie’s success, Pixar went public on Wall Street with an IPO that raised $140 million.

Apple announced in 1996 that it would buy NeXT for $430 million, which in the process purchase the operating system Jobs and his team had developed. Jobs was appointed as an adviser to Apple, while Gil Amelio replaced Spindler as CEO. A year later, Amelio was pushed out in favor of Jobs. As an “interim” CEO, Jobs referred to himself as the “iCEO,” foreshadowing the marketing hook for Apple’s new products in the years to come.

Source: Telegraph and  Wikipedia

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