Apple boss Gilbert Amelio says that Apple and upstart operating system vendor Be will work together and that parts of the BeOS could become components of Apple's next-generation operating system.
Amelio is stopping short of confirming recent newspaper reports that Apple will buy the BeOS or the company itself. Be is a Menlo Park, California-based company headed by former Apple chief technology officer Jean-Louis Gassee.
"Inevitably, we will do some things together simply because we are ploughing the same turf," Amelio says. "I think there are things we can learn from the BeOS, and so in that spirit we would be delighted to work with them in any way we can."
Amelio says more details on the Be relationship and Apple's overall operating system plans will be released in coming months.
Downplaying rumours that the BeOS would in essence replace Apple's forthcoming Copland operating system, also known as version 8 of the MacOS, Amelio acknowledges that BeOS modules could be released as components for Copland. Those components could give Apple's operating system the necessary functions, such as true multitasking, multithreading and memory protection, to better compete with Windows NT and OS/2 Warp, he says.
But while Be has "done some interesting things", Amelio says, the BeOS has "severe negatives" because it is not a real-time operating system and has limited input/output technology.
On the road to Copland, still a couple years away, Apple plans to release Internet, multimedia and other upgrades to its existing operating system in six-month intervals starting in January.