What Apple Got From NextStep OS

We have heard of the story that Steve Jobs went for a walk with Gil Amelio and Gil Amelio agreed to acquire NextStep OS for $400 million.

If you think about it, the whole deal doesn’t quite make sense.  Just ask ourselves this simple question, why couldn’t Apple revamp their own System 7.  Microsoft had successfully done it when they released Windows 95.  Apple could do that for its outdated System 7 too.

The crux of of the matter was Apple’s failure in releasing the planned Copland OS.  Gil Amelio had tried to revive it by hiring Ellen Hancock of National Semiconductor but was later forced to source for a new OS in the market.  Even with a new OS, it would take several years for the new OS to be integrated with the features of System 7.

That was exactly what happened and Mac OS X was only released in 2001.  Mac OS X was the Apple OS that was based on NextStep OS.  It was Unix like and because it was a NextStep OS, it was designed to run on different platforms, be it Intel or PowerPC.

The story had it that at around 2001, Steve Jobs had wanted Sony to license Mac OS X to run on Sony Vaio system.  It was said that Jobs and his team actually made a demo to Sony executives showing a Sony Vaio notebook to be running on Mac OS X.

The saying had it that it was Jobs admiration for Sony that made him to be interested to have its OS to be running on Sony notebooks.  But take note also that at around 2001, Sony music was one of the labels that were carried in iTunes store.  So I think it was more because Apple wanted to get cozy with Sony.

The single most important thing Apple got from NextStep was a platform agnostic operating system.  They had failed to have it ran on Sony Vaio but in 2006, we had our Intel based Mac system.

iPhone iOS was actually a slimed down version of Mac OS X and so it is also platform agnostic.  The A8 iPhone chips that we are using are based on ARM architecture.  Apple could easily switch the iPhone processor to Intel chip and they almost did.  It was said that the then Apple Senior VP Tony Fadell strongly opposed Jobs plan to switch from ARM to Intel based CPU.

It was said that Tony Fadell planned to resign if Jobs was to switch to using Intel chip in iPhone.  If he did resign early, we could have Nest Thermostat earlier in our home.


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