Apple acquired NeXT 15 years ago, Jean-Louis Gassée still dreaming of what could've been

It might be hard to picture now, but back in the mid-nineties, the threat of bankruptcy was very real for a company headquartered in Cupertino. That would all change with the purchase of NeXT on December 20, 1996 -- a move that gave the fledgling computer maker a modern OS, but more importantly brought one of its founders, Steve Jobs, back into the fold. The rest is history, as Jobs eventually secured the helm, forming a team that would go on to birth products like the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. But hardware innovation aside, ultimately that comeback wouldn't have been possible without OS X -- an OS which arose directly out of the ashes of NextStep. Sure, there was the occasional misstep along the way -- G4 Cube and hockey-puck mouse be damned -- but frankly we can't think of any turnaround as epic, nor relevant. Can you?