Computer Venture Confirmed by Perot

By Lawrence M. Fisher
Special to the New York Times

San Francisco -- January 30, 1987 -- H. Ross Perot, founder of the Electronic Data Systems Corporation, confirmed today that he had invested $20 million for a 16 percent stake and a board seat in Next Inc., the start-up company formed by Apple Computer Inc.'s co-founder, Steven P. Jobs.

Next has said it plans to produce a powerful computer work station for educational use, although it has not disclosed details of the machine. Mr. Jobs has said the company's goal was to ship its product during the 1987-88 school year, and that he was committed to making it in the United States.

In addition to the Perot investment, Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University have invested a total of $1.32 million for a stake of one-half of 1 percent each, Mr. Jobs announced today at a news conference at Next's Palo Alto headquarters.

John P. Crecine, Carnegie Mellon's senior vice president for academic affairs, will join Mr. Perot and Mr. Jobs as directors. The financing was based on a valuation of $100 million for Next, or $126 million after the sale, and leaves Mr. Jobs with 62 percent.

''This is the first computer hardware company I've ever put a penny in,'' Mr. Perot said in an interview. He sold E.D.S. to the General Motors Corporation in 1984, but remained head of the operation until late last year, when G.M. bought back his shares for $700 million.

Commenting that Mr. Jobs has many of the creators of Apple's Macintosh personal computer with him in the new company, Mr. Perot said, ''In terms of a start-up company, it's one that carries the least risk of any I've seen in 25 years in the computer industry.''

But the educational market is not known for high profit margins because major computer manufacturers are willing to donate machines or discount heavily to universities. Next may also face substantial competition, both from work station manufacturers and from more powerful versions of the Macintosh. In that environment, analysts say Next will have to deliver a significantly innovative machine - at a competitive price, and on time.

Copyright 1987 The New York Times Company