ntroduced in 1989, NeXT is notable on this list because it is one of the few technologies and operating systems other than Windows and Office that still survives and heavily impacts our industry in some form today. In 1991, it was considered to be esoteric, expensive OS and hardware platform at the time with virtually no market share,
Based on the UNIX Mach microkernel, the 32-bit multitasking and object-oriented graphical NeXTStep operating system was considered one of the most advanced of its day. Up until the mid 1990s, it was tied entirely to the NeXT computer system, which was the hardware that was built by the company that was formed by Steve Jobs shortly after he was ejected by Apple's Board of Directors in 1985, not long after the introduction of the original Macintosh.
While NeXT failed as a stand-alone company (it stopped producing computers in 1994 and had to lay off most of its staff at the time) it did have an impressive set of development tools and an operating system (OpenStep, the BSD version of NeXTStep) that was valuable to an ailing Apple, which purchased the company in December of 1996. After a brief power struggle, Steve Jobs returned as CEO of Apple Computer in 1999.
The rest, of course, is history. The technologies that Steve Jobs brought over with NeXT eventually evolved into what we now call Apple's Objective-C, XCode and Interface Builder development environment as well as Mac OS X and the iOS operating systems which run on today's Macintoshes, iPads, iPhones and iPods.