Apple bought NeXT in 1997. A year later the CEO was gone, and Steve Jobs was all but running the place. NeXT had seized power over Apple.

NeXT took Apple over. Apple became NeXT. And then they geeked the place up.

Mac OS X is a shiny new UNIX, that happens to be somewhat similar to the Classic Mac OS, and has the ability to run its apps. Look at NeXTSTEP and Mac OS 9, and then compare them both to Mac OS X. One could argue that OS X is NeXTSTEP in Macintosh clothing. Hell, look at the NeXT Cube and the Power Mac G4 Cube. Does it get any more obvious that Apple has become NeXT?

Now there is a line forming down the middle of the Macintosh community. On one extreme, the old-school Mac user, the person that yells loudly and proudly "I've had a Macintosh since 1984, and I've used Apple II's before then!". The other extreme, the geek new to the platform, lured across by "A smooth liquid GUI wrapped around a crunchy UNIX centre!"

This is very much a case of two cultures colliding, and the result isn't pretty. Between whining about terminals, to complaints about ease of use, to filesystems wars, to entire window systems being hacked to the top, these two groups of people are having problems mixing.

The Mac user of old, that stuck though the dark days of Apple, and the new geeks that bring a new userbase and development power to the platform. Who is going to win this 'war' (or at least come out of it happier...)

Who runs Apple now?

Steve Jobs, from NeXT. (Yes, I know he was one of the Two Steves that founded Apple in the first place, but he did get booted and go create NeXT...)

Who's operating system is the Mac OS now?

NeXT's. A wonderful geek UNIX.

Sure, OS X is great for newbies, but under the hood is it a holy grail for many a UNIX user. So, if you're a geek out there thinking "Apple? Mac? One button? Pfft". Change your viewpoint for a moment. This is one way I justify my new-found liking of Apple to geek friends; stop thinking of them as the Apple of old. Just think of them as a bigger NeXT with a new name.

Apple may have bought NeXT, but NeXT took over Apple.