After leaving Apple, Jobs founded NeXT Computer in 1985, with $7 million. A year later, Jobs was running out of money, and with no product on the horizon, he appealed for venture capital. Eventually, he attracted the attention of billionaire Ross Perot who invested heavily in the company. NeXT workstations were first released in 1990, priced at $9,999. Like the Apple Lisa, the NeXT workstation was technologically advanced, but was largely dismissed as cost-prohibitive by the educational sector for which it was designed. The NeXT workstation was known for its technical strengths, chief among them its object-oriented software development system. Jobs marketed NeXT products to the financial, scientific, and academic community, highlighting its innovative, experimental new technologies, such as the Mach kernel, the digital signal processor chip, and the built-in Ethernet port. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web on a NeXT computer at CERN.
The revised, second-generation NeXTcube
was released in 1990, also. Jobs touted it as the first "interpersonal"
computer that would replace the personal computer. With its innovative NeXTMail
multimedia email system, NeXTcube could share voice, image, graphics,
and video in email for the first time. "Interpersonal computing is going
to revolutionise human communications and groupwork", Jobs told
Jobs ran NeXT with an obsession for aesthetic perfection, as evidenced
by the development of and attention to NeXTcube's magnesium case.
This put considerable strain on NeXT's hardware division, and in 1993,
after having sold only 50,000 machines, NeXT transitioned fully to
software development with the release of NeXTSTEP/Intel. The company reported its first profit of $1.03 million in 1994. In 1996, NeXT Software, Inc. released WebObjects,
a framework for Web application development. After NeXT was acquired by
Apple Inc. in 1997, WebObjects was used to build and run the Apple Store, MobileMe services, and the iTunes Store.