NeXT Computer, Inc.
(later NeXT Software, Inc.
) was an American computer
company headquartered in Redwood City
that developed and manufactured a series of computer workstations
intended for the higher education
and business markets. NeXT was founded in 1985 by Apple Computer
co-founder Steve Jobs
after his forced resignation from Apple. NeXT introduced the first NeXT Computer
in 1988, and the smaller NeXTStation
in 1990. Sales of the NeXT computers were relatively limited, with estimates of about 50,000 units shipped in total. Nevertheless its innovative object-oriented NeXTSTEP operating system
and development environment were highly influential.
NeXT later released much of the NeXTSTEP system as a programming environment standard called OpenStep. NeXT withdrew from the hardware business in 1993 to concentrate on marketing OPENSTEP for several OEMs. NeXT also developed WebObjects, one of the first Enterprise web application frameworks. WebObjects never became very popular because of its initial high price of $50,000 but remains a prominent early example of a web server based on dynamic page generation rather than static content. Apple purchased NeXT on December 20, 1996 for $429 million, and much of the current Mac OS X system is built on the OPENSTEP foundation. WebObjects is now bundled with Mac OS X Server and Xcode.