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Did Microsoft kill Be?

Russell Beattie writes about how Microsoft killed Be. But it didn’t. Be failed ultimately because of bad business decisions by its executive team.
First up, there was not realising that a next-generation operating system with Jean Louis Gassee was worth only $125 million to Apple, not $200 million. The fact that Gil Amelio went on to decide that a NeXT-generation operating system with Steve Jobs attached was worth $425 million must have punctured Gassee’s ego somewhat.
Second, there was the decision to effectively abandon development of Be OS for PowerPC. Although at the time Be blamed Apple, claiming it wouldn’t give it technical information on the Power Mac G3, this never looked like a viable excuse. At the same time, the PowerPC linux developers were making the jump to G3, with no more assistance than standard developer registration. What’s more, the decision to kill off PowerPC development meant that Be was now going head to head with Microsoft in the operating systems market. If you had a choice of competitors, who would you go for? Apple, which has a reputation for fumbling the ball, or Microsoft, which has a reputation of relentlessly grinding foes into the dust?
The third bad call was the switch to being an Internet appliance company, in an attempt to dodge the hail of bullets from Redmond. Bad move. There is no Internet appliance market, never has been, and never will be.
I very much doubt that Microsoft actually leaned on any hardware vendors not to include Be, because I very much doubt that any hardware vendors seriously considered included Be OS. What’s more, even if they had included it, it’s very likely Be would have gone out of business anyway, as it would have run out of cash long before reaching the kind of critical mass it would have needed to survive. the only business models that support making money from an OS are bundling with hardware (the Apple model), dominating the market (the Microsoft model) or paying nothing for development (the Linux model). Be, which tried all of these in its time, switched strategy too often to ever be a success.

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