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The surprising story of how Steve Jobs helped create the World Wide Web

Published Jun 9th, 2014 10:12AM EDT

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Steve Jobs will be remembered for a shocking number of accomplishments, and now he have learned of yet another feather we can put in the late Apple co-founder’s cap: Steve Jobs helped create the World Wide Web.

During a recent interview at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, former CERN software engineer and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee shared a fascinating story that was recently picked up by Business Insider.

Berners-Lee was trying to figure out how to bring together research stored on different computers running different operating systems that were scattered across the globe.

“All these systems looked different but in fact you’re reading stuff on a screen and sometimes clicking on bits,” he thought to himself. “So you could imagine a thin layer which would map all these existing systems into one virtual system. Wouldn’t that be cool?”

Next, Berners-Lee described what happened after getting the approval from his boss to work on his new idea.

“We bought a cool machine, the NeXT computer,” he said. “NeXT was a machine made by Steve Jobs when he was kicked out of Apple … it had a wonderful spirit to it, a really good developer’s environment … When you opened it, you got a pre-recorded message from Steve that said, ‘Welcome to the NeXT. This is not about personal computing. It’s about ‘inter-personal’ computing.’ It was perfect for designing the web.”

According to Berners-Lee, the idea of “inter-personal computing” stuck with him and served as inspiration while he created what would ultimately become the World Wide Web.

Jobs’s NeXT never made it very far as a personal computer brand, but it would soon be acquired by his former company, Apple, and Jobs would return to eventually reclaim the CEO role and help Apple ultimately become the biggest technology company on the planet by a massive margin.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.


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