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What if Apple bought Be instead of NeXT??

 
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bkmoore



Joined: 01 Jan 2009
Posts: 183
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:23 am    Post subject: What if Apple bought Be instead of NeXT?? Reply with quote

All,

I was watching the History of Mac OS on YouTube. They said that Apple had decided to go with BeOS as the basis for the future of MacOS. It was a done deal until Steve Jobs called Gil Amelio and sold him on OpenSTEP. Fortunately Gil Amelio agreed with Steve and Mac OS X running on sleek hardware is the result of that decision. I love NeXTSTEP, but my daily work computer is MacOS X.

So I ask the members of this board what if Gil had hung up the phone and stuck with BeOS? Where would Apple be today? Would Apple be better or worse off?

I ask in all sincerity since I am not familiar with BeOS. I love MacOS X, but what would a modern BeOS be like with the resources of a major company developing it look like?

Thanks,

Brian Moore
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cuby



Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 164
Location: Coburg, Germany

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:10 pm    Post subject: Re: What if Apple bought Be instead of NeXT?? Reply with quote

bkmoore wrote:
So I ask the members of this board what if Gil had hung up the phone and stuck with BeOS? Where would Apple be today? Would Apple be better or worse off?

I ask in all sincerity since I am not familiar with BeOS. I love MacOS X, but what would a modern BeOS be like with the resources of a major company developing it look like?


Well, maybe Apple would be out of business and Objective C and Mach-based kernels would now be a curiosity of the past... perhaps Apple needed Steve Jobs more than they needed NeXT technology, after all.

For a glimpse as how a modern BeOS might look like, take a look at the recently released Haiku alpha release (Haiku is an open source BeOS clone - www.haiku-os.org). With some more development time, I think this project could create quite a nice and lean desktop OS.

-- Michael
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mrintel



Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 94

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It also begs the question, what if Apple had actually delivered Copland and all the other OSes that they could have used?

"We chose Plan A instead of Plan Be." - Gil Amelio
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RacerX



Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Posts: 333
Location: Twin Cities, MN

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think one has to recall what each company was bringing to the table... Be had a lot of potential, but hadn't really proven itself by that point in time. That was, of course, why Be was so inexpensive.

On the other hand, NeXT had done quite a bit in spite of the restrictions forced on them by the settlement with Apple back in the late 1980s. NEXTSTEP would have been a killer OS in the desktop market had NeXT been allowed to compete in the desktop market. But even beyond NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP, NeXT had started becoming successful with Enterprise Objects and WebObjects, products which Apple could start seeing returns on instantly.

Additionally, Apple might have been motivated by wanting to deny Sun the NEXTSTEP environment. Sun was ready to move forward with Solaris OpenStep and had just purchased Lighthouse Design (for their office suite). Sun was not a party to the same restrictions as NeXT to stay out of the desktop market, and was gearing up to take on Microsoft head on. By Acquiring NeXT, Apple ground Sun's plans to a halt. People often forget (or were never aware of) the timeline of events and believe that Sun lost interest in OpenStep and the Lighthouse software, when in actuality the focusing on Java was a result of Apple cutting off many of Sun's original plans.

Further, Sun at that time was swimming in money (with rumors that they might even buy Apple). Had they known that NeXT was for sale, they wouldn't have hesitated to buy them. Sun had thought they were getting NeXT's OS users for free as NeXT was attempting to get out of the OS business altogether. The reason for OPENSTEP 4.x looking the same as NEXTSTEP 3.3 was that Solaris OpenStep's look-n-feel was based on it. NeXT had planned on pushing all it's NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP users towards Sun and just concentrating on Enterprise Objects and WebObjects (and their portable OPENSTEP runtime environment for other platforms).

But one has to understand that to many people back then (and since) both Be and NeXT seemed equally obscure. And most people were unaware that Apple continued to sell NeXT products through 1999 and supported them through 2001. These were factors that not only favored NeXT over Be, but also justified Apple paying more than three times the price for NeXT that they were willing to pay for Be.

Sadly this type of history isn't sexy enough to show up in most places (or people just aren't willing to spend any amount of time really digging around for it).
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Thrax



Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally don't think it would of affected Apple in one of the important areas of market share. I think it would of brought a different set of "creativity" into their OS but it would of appealed to the same people in the market either way.
Where it would of been interesting, as posters have noted, is what if NeXT was bought out by someone else and then continued its advancements. A Sun purchase of NeXT that RacerX mentioned would definitely been interesting.
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papa_november



Joined: 18 May 2009
Posts: 13
Location: California

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apple might actually still be a computer company instead of an online music retailer with a hardware division.

They'd also be dead (or more likely, bought out by someone else), but given the alternative...
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