Date: Feb. 7, 1997

Acquired for: $404 Million

With the John Sculley era coming to an abysmal end, Apple was desperate to regain the services of the co-founder and CEO it forced out in mid-80s. So in order to persuade Steve Jobs back into the fold, the company purchased his computer start-up, NeXT. Jobs' return will forever be recognized as Apple’s biggest (and boldest) business move. But truth be told, it was the technology behind NeXT that also saved the company and laid the foundation for its future success, serving as stepping stone for the creation of Mac OS X. History was made.