Steve Jobs has always been fast on his feet. Since founding NeXT Computer Inc. in 1985, Jobs has met one setback after another with a quick-fix remedy. His coal-black NeXT computer was introduced in late 1988, but sales didn't take off because the software wasn't done. So Jobs lit a fire under his developers. Then, Jobs found that customers wanted the machine to come with a floppy disk drive. He added one. Next, they told him prices were too high. Jobs lowered them. Now, sales are climbing. But six-year-old NeXT still isn't profitable.
What's the solution this time? Software. NeXT insiders say that Jobs has concluded that whiz-bang hardware is not enough to propel his company into the big time. So he's now planning to sell the machine's object-oriented operating system as a stand-alone product. He hopes the technology, which makes it easy for buyers to customize applications for their own businesses, will build profits for NeXT and persuade big corporations to buy his machines.