Case Study: Apple, Design, and Business

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

Mark Twain

On December 20, 1996, Apple Computer announced their intention to purchase NeXT Computer. The deal closed on February 4, 1997, at a price of $427 million. With this acquisition, Apple got at least two things. First, they got a technology that could serve as the foundation for their next generation operating system. Second, they got Steve Jobs, who was thereby repatriated with the company that he had cofounded.

At the time, Apple was in trouble. Its market share was falling, and its share price was hovering around a 12-year low. There was little to convince investors or customers that the company possessed any of the innovative ...

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