Haiku: Reason to believe

Richard Hillesley looks at whether Haiku will get the opportunity to move from a hobby to a viable open source alternative.

Apple, it is said, didn't buy Be Inc because Gasse's valuation of BeOS was three or four times Apple's valuation. Apple bought NeXT, and Steve Jobs returned to the company he had co-founded in the 70s.

NeXTSTEP morphed into Apple's OS X, with bits and pieces taken from FreeBSD, and just as tellingly, from the point of view of BeOS, Apple pulled the licence that allowed Motorola and others to sell clones of Apple hardware.

Be Inc was forced to adapt to the new situation. BeOS was ported to Intel, and freely downloadable versions were made available. Deals were cut with OEMs, allegedly hindered by Microsoft, who settled out of court in 2002 for $23 million on the charge of having engineered "the destruction of Be's business" through "anti-competitive business practices."

Be found a new line of business through its slimmed down version of BeOS for internet appliances, BeIA, but the writing was already on the wall. In 2001, before the resolution of the case against Microsoft, the company and its assets were sold to Palm. The effective life of BeOS was over.

"What we know for sure is that Microsoft treated the PC hardware platform as if it owned it, and thus hurt consumers, software developers, PC OEMs, OS competitors, and the industry in general," Gasse wrote.

"That's a layman's definition of abusing a monopoly."

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