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A Letter to Customers · From Gil Amelio

December 20, 1996

Dear Apple customers: The next chapter in Apple's history begins today. As you may have already heard, today we acquired NeXT Software Inc. As a result, we are merging the businesses of Apple and NeXT into one operation, owned and managed by Apple. This means that, in a moment, we move to the center of the industry's developments and debates. It means we greatly strengthen our Internet, Enterprise, and software propositions. And it means we complete our commitment to deliver a truly modern operating system to our customers.

It also means that our co-founder Steven P. Jobs, will rejoin Apple, reporting to me. I know I speak for everyone at Apple in welcoming Steve home.

A little background as to why we chose NeXT: As we looked at various partners for our operating system development, we discovered that Apple and NeXT had surprisingly complementary products, technologies, and services. In fact, the more we looked at the two companies, the more we realized that we each were strong where the other faced challenges, and in many ways we filled in the blanks in each other's strategies. For example, Apple needed a truly modern operating system and NeXT had an exceptional operating system with modern services and API's. At the same time, NeXT needed a high-volume installed base and Apple -- one of the world's largest personal computer manufacturers -- has sold more than 26 million Macintosh systems.

As an Apple customer, this move is extremely important because it acts as an emblem of the new types of products, technologies, and development philosophy I'm bringing to Apple. In this new approach, the "Not Invented Here" syndrome has been banished far beyond the horizons of our vision. Apple will be open to new technologies, and where they're developed doesn't matter. In this new era, we will not be an island in the industry; but rather build a bridge to the center of an open standards world based on industry alliances.

The acquisition also marks the passing of another sizable milestone in Apple's transformation and renaissance. Earlier this year, we stabilized our business. And with the NeXT acquisition, we've jumpstarted our software and enterprise businesses, while positioning ourselves for strength and growth in the industry's sweet spots.

I can't think of a better way to enter the new year.

Below, you'll find more information about the acquisition. But a final thought before you read on: 20 years ago, Steven P. Jobs and Stephen Wozniak had a dream about what high technology could do for people. About what it could do to make people's lives richer and more meaningful.

Twenty years later, we realize that their flash of insight fired the imagination and promise of our culture, changing just about every part of the way we learn, communicate, and play. And twenty years later, despite the breakthroughs, and revolutions, and technological explosions, I can't help but be struck by these wonderfully inspiring -- and humbling -- realizations:

Our work is still in its infancy.

Our passion for changing the world has never dimmed.

And still, twenty years later, the voice of our customers -- your needs, inclinations, and desires -- remains our guiding principle.

We wouldn't have it any other way.

Respectfully, Gil Amelio Apple CEO and Chairman

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