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Gates, Apple meet for closer ties

Bill Gates reportedly meets with Apple recently to discuss closer ties, possibly including an operating system deal.

Microsoft (MSFT) chairman Bill Gates visited Apple Computer (AAPL) headquarters this month to discuss closer cooperation between the two companies, possibly including an arrangement involving the Windows NT operating system, the New York Times has reported.

The hour-long session was attended by Apple chairman Gilbert Amelio; Steven Jobs, Apple's cofounder and head of Next, recently bought by Apple; and Ellen Hancock, Apple's chief technology officer. The meeting took place about two weeks ago.

One item of discussion was the possibility of Apple's licensing Windows NT, Microsoft's industrial-strength operating system for the corporate market, sources told the Times. No further details on the topic were disclosed.

Such a move, however, would appear contrary to the strategy behind merging with Next, which was designed to give Apple a server operating system that would allow it to compete with Windows NT.

The article also reported that Apple is considering closer ties with Intel (INTC).

Company executives told the Times that Apple is considering making a line of machines that run on Intel microprocessors. Apple computers now run on microprocessors made by Motorola.