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Computer used by Steve Jobs on auction for US$300,000

By Alexandra Mae Jones

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    TORONTO (CTV Network) — A Macintosh computer used by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs went up for auction this week, with sellers estimating its worth at up to US$300,000.

The Macintosh SE, which did not find a buyer at the Tuesday auction, came out in 1987 and its hard drive shows it was used by Jobs for weekly tasks such as recruiting, planning travel, accessing a private virtual Rolodex, typing documents and scheduling meetings, including a missed meeting with King Charles III, then Prince of Wales, according to a description from auction company Bonhams.

Jobs, who passed away in 2011, was famous for co-founding Apple Inc. and later became the face of the company.

A previous auction in the summer saw a buyer purchase an authenticated Apple-1 computer prototype used by Jobs in 1976 for nearly US$700,000.

The computer up for auction this week was used by Jobs from 1987 to 1993, when it was given to the present owner. Jobs’ daughter, Lisa, who once had an Apple computer named after her, may have also used this particular computer in the early ’90s when visiting her father, according to Bonhams.

Jobs’ old computer was part of the History of Science and Technology auction, held by Bonhams, which featured physical items of technology as well as documents linked to key moments or individuals in the history of tech.

The auction was slated to occur Tuesday, but while some pieces have been marked as sold on the webpage, others, including the Macintosh SE, have not found a buyer yet. It’s unknown when these pieces may come to auction again.

Among those that sold is a 1909 letter written by Nikola Tesla, which sold for US$24,225, and the Apple II, one of the first personal computers made by Apple, which fetched US$35,655.

According to Bonhams, the Macintosh SE was used by Jobs during an “important” time in Jobs’ technological development — his time away from Apple.

Before he was getting standing ovations at presentations for the latest iPhone model, he was actually once forced out of the company amid a power struggle with the company’s board.

After splitting with Apple in 1985, Jobs formed his own startup called NeXT. At this new company, he used a Macintosh SE for his personal computer for many years, even after NeXT began producing its own computers.

Although the Macintosh SE looks boxy and old-fashioned to the modern eye, at the time it was an exciting piece of technology.

It made the move from the original NeXT office in Palo Alto, Calif. to Redwood City, Calif., and was still on Jobs’ desk when the current owner began to work with Jobs in 1993.

The auction listed the computer at a value between US$200,000 and US$300,000. It includes the 20MB hard drive, an additional backup drive, a keyboard and a mouse.

The hard drive includes traces of Jobs’ life and tasks at that time, including suggestions that his daughter sometimes used the computer. Bonhams’ description states that the InterMail system is registered under the name Lisa, and that Microsoft Word was registered for that computer in 1992 under Lisa/Life.

According to the auction posting, the last task that this specific computer was used for was a marketing project overseen by Jobs in 1994 before it was offered to the present owner.

NeXT was bought by Apple in 1997, bringing Jobs back to the company. By 2000, Jobs was officially CEO of Apple.

Numerous other objects in the auction were linked to Jobs, including a business card from when he worked at NeXT (which sold for US$4,080), and a collection of personal items from his office at NeXT, including several magazines and a videotape of highlights of a 1990 presentation by Jobs (which sold for US$5,100).

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Sonja Puzic

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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