Apple acquires NeXT
Since Apple had been floundering in its own attempts to build or buy a modern new operating system for the Mac, the two made a good match. Apple's PowerMacs were even similar to the hardware NeXT had ported NeXTSTEP to five years earlier, so within months of the acquisition, Apple had a new operating system running on the Mac.
Apple had originally hoped to port the OpenStep development frameworks, which they renamed 'YellowBox', to run on Mac OS 7, so developers could simply start writing NeXT/OpenStep applications and quickly transition them to an updated OpenStep/Mach offering, called 'Rhapsody', running on Mac hardware. The NeXT sales force, renamed Apple Enterprise, continued to sell OpenStep for Mach and NT, along with WebObjects and related products. Apple hoped their existing developers would quickly embrace the new YellowBox acquisition, since it allowed developers to write applications that would run on Mac OS 7, the new Rhapsody, Windows and any of the other platforms YellowBox could run on. Additionally, Rhapsody would also run Mac OS 7 applications in a compatibility mode called the BlueBox.
Apple's plans did not work out as expected. Apple found that running the YellowBox layer on the old Mac OS was simply not possible. Mac developers expressed no interest in rewriting their applications from scratch, using an entirely new and different system they were unfamiliar with, particularly since they had already been burned several times by investing in plans Apple had introduced, only to see Apple cancel them or to watch them fail in the marketplace. Even BlueBox was poorly received; it would leave existing Mac applications in their own ghetto, lacking the benefits of the new OS and standing out as old. And the Macintosh was looking like dying platform anyway. Every day a new industry wag predicted imminent death for the "beleaguered Apple."
Part IV > Apple Rethinks Rhapsody