Rhapsody fans haven't had a lot of good news lately: First, Apple abandoned plans to make Rhapsody its next-generation OS, announcing that there would be no versions of Rhapsody after version 1.0 (this includes the Intel version): Instead, the company decided to roll some Rhapsody features into the Mac OS and release it as Mac OS X next year. Now, with the MacWorld Expo in New York, a new round of Rhapsody news brings more changes for the operating system that never was.

Rhapsody 1.0 will still be released this Fall as planned, but it will be called Mac OS X Server (that's "X" as in "ten" by the way, not "ex"). Since Apple gave no word about platforms or timelines, we can assume the known plan is still in place: Mac OS X Server will run on Intel and PowerPC systems, but it will be the last of the line. Meanwhile, Apple will release new upgrades to the Mac OS (including version 8.5 this Fall) and then release a full Mac OS X ten release--on PowerPC only--next year. The only way Intel users will be able to use Rhapsody technology will be through the confusingly-named "Yellow Box" add-on for Windows NT, which adds Rhapsody APIs to Microsoft's server operating system.

I've heard rumors that Apple is dropping its enterprise plans--that is, Rhapsody--primarily to please Microsoft, which gave that as a condition to its continued allegiance with Apple. This way, Microsoft can pursue the enterprise crowd without having to worry about Apple and Apple can rely on frequent updates to Microsoft's Mac software