Snubbed by Apple, Be Inc. has shopped its OS around to Macintosh clone vendors, dropped development of a proprietary machine and has come out stronger than ever. Today, Motorola added to Be’s success by announcing that it would bundle the BeOS with its StarMax line of PowerPC-based personal computers. Previously, the StarMax line could only run the Mac OS.
Motorola is the second company to announce a licensing deal with Be. In January, Power Computing, the largest Mac clone maker, signed a similar deal. The Motorola agreement, however, is a little farther reaching: the CPU maker has formed a technical alliance with Be to ensure that future versions of the OS run on future StarMax machines and PowerPC processors.
“Motorola’s aim is to open up the PowerPC to a new platform,” said Eric Lewis, an analyst with International Data Corp. “I think that they may be hedging their bets in case Apple really doesn’t pull Rhapsody off.”
Initial offerings will allow the BeOS and MacOS to dual-boot on a StarMax computer, much like the Power Computing offerings. In the future, however, Motorola will offer the BeOS as the sole OS. This move, and Motorola’s intention to rework the PowerPC CPU line to make it more efficient for the BeOS is seen as a major offensive against Apple and part of an overall initiative to expand the PowerPC marketshare.
“Until the BeOS applications \[base\] grows, it will be a complement to the MacOS,” Be CEO Jean-Louis Gassee said. “We have something that is smaller, faster, and more modern \[than the MacOS or Rhapsody\].”
Interestingly, even IBM is looking into licensing the BeOS. Apple who