Repositioning Existing Technology for a New Use Case and Product Category

Third and final pivot of the Steve Jobs-founded NeXT, reinventing the development environment and operating system company as an Internet software company to increase the valuation for an IPO – until bought by Apple at the increased IPO value.


  • Web Application Server
  • Development Environment
  • Make NeXT a top 5 web company in a yet-to-be determined category
  • Reposition legacy client/server software development environment into an innovative Internet product line
  • Revitalize company’s go-to-market strategy in dotcom era
  • This was the third incarnation of NeXT, first as a hardware manufacturer, second as operating system and development environment vendors so there was some industry fatigue of the company
  • Extremely passionate and loyal sales and marketing teams dedicated to the past incarnations of the company
  • A strong internal bias to the client-server and development environment go-to-market messages from the past
  • Evaluated customer applications of the technology and what they perceived they built with the technology
  • Researched emerging web application companies and technologies to understand their offering and value propositions
  • Customers were building dynamic web-based applications that behaved based on database and input parameters not just the then-status-quo static website
  • Web server product category had been defined and NeXT did not fit into it
  • Needed to establish and define a new category “Web Application Server” for the technology – a term one other very small company was using without much fanfare
  • Repositioned product line as a Web Application Server (WebObjects)
  • Retrained sales force on how to sell as a web server and the value of being a server instead of a development tool
  • Booked thought leadership speaking engagements for Steve and his team to evangelize “web application server”
  • Marketed customer web site home pages as use cases instead of leading with product features
  • Achieved $15 million license revenues in first year
  • Ranked #1 in market share for Internet applications
  • Ranked #2 for Intranet applications
  • Accounted for large portion of $429M value of Apple purchase representing a double digit revenue multiplier 

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