Apple dismisses Be OS purchase as rumour

Apple is denying that it is about to buy Be, the maker of an operating system that contains many of the features which are promised in Mac OS 8.

Apple may be under fire, second-guessed, and the target of speculation, but according to company officials, it is not a reseller of the Be OS. At least not yet.

Following what appears to be a new routine, Apple executives last week praised the multitasking, multithreaded, memory-protected OS developed by Be, while company representatives denied that Apple was abandoning its Copland OS, which has been five years in the making.

Although some sources close to the company insist that an agreement in principle has been reached for Apple to acquire Be or portions of its technology, Apple officials strongly deny that any agreement has been reached.

Apple has no comment as to whether the two companies are in negotiations or whether parts of the Be OS might end up in future versions of the MacOS alongside technology first developed for Copland.

According to some sources, Apple is evaluating whether it can adapt some of the underlying technology used in the Be OS, particularly pre-emptive multitasking and memory protection, that would run in a protected space directly on the microkernel being developed as part of the Copland effort.

In that scenario, new applications written with the Be OS in mind could take advantage of multitasking and multithreading, while existing applications would still be capable of running, sources say.

Apple could also use the Be architecture as part of its basic underlying MacOS and run existing Macintosh applications in emulation, sources say, but that would seriously hamper Apple's efforts to establish technologies such as OpenDoc, QuickTime and QuickDraw as industry standards. Apple intends to make its overall OS strategy clear in January, when it will outline the feature set that is expected to take the MacOS forward from its current 7.5.3 implementation to System 8.0.

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