The only news service to predict Bill Gates' star turn at at the Boston Macworld Expo now says Apple Computer could be moving to make both its operating systems Intel-compatible by mid-1998.
Recon For Investors (RFI), an Apple-focused analysis service, says that "no later than January, at Macworld Expo San Francisco, Apple will be showing ... NT/Rhapsody servers running on x86 boxes."
It also echoes predictions elsewhere that the next major release of the MacOS ("Allegro"), due mid-1998, will be ported to the Unix-based Mach 3.0 kernel, the same as that used by Rhapsody.
"It looks as if Allegro is going straight to to Mach 3.0 to coincide with and collaterally support the Unified Release of Rhapsody,' says the report. "That means, if Apple does the porting work, Allegro could conceivably run on x86 [and] Merced boxes."
Using the Mach 3.0 kernel in MacOS would also offer the potential for Win32 application and Java compatibility, says the report, originally compiled for RFI's private subscribers and made public at their request, in anticipation of negative reports on Apple from some other analysts.
The report reiterates RFI's earlier predictions that Microsoft could leverage its alliance with Apple to head off Sun Microsystems in large enterprises which do not consider Windows NT sufficiently scalable, noting that "Microsoft's applications, and even Wintel desktops, will work on a Rhapsody network as well as everything else."
The report also claims a groundswell behind OpenStep, the Next environment on which Rhapsody is based, and Metrowerks' Code Warrior Pro, which Microsoft has already been using in preference to its own tools to develop its new generation of MacOS applications.
Meanwhile, the MacInsider Website is picking the first week of October for Apple to make a major announcement on the way it handles its dealer channel.
It predicts that this will include not renewing contracts for dealers who have not met a minimum quota; more direct relationships with favoured dealers; and a new direct marketing model to go in place from March1998. It also predicts Apple will meet with key dealers on September 27.
MacInsider also reveals the existence of a undercover "reseller task team" ordered by Apple's interim CEO Steve Jobs to go into US computer superstores and electronics chains and express interest in the Mac platform.
Staff in those stores "did more to help steer undercover Apple employees expressing interest in the Mac platform towards Windows-based PCs than try to sell them Apple computers." Jobs is said to regard the presence of Apple computers in such stores as doing more harm to the platform than good.
It is inclear what impact any plans may have in this part of the world, but the superstore experience is similar to that reported earlier this year by Apple Australia, which pulled out of stores such as Harvey Norman.