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Intel to invest in Be

The chip giant, along with a number of venture capital firms, has taken an equity stake in the company, said sources at Be.

Monday will be a big day for Be.

Along with rolling out a new version of its operating system, Be Incorporated will announce that chip giant Intel has taken an equity stake in the company along with a number of venture capital firms, said sources at Be.

To complete the hat trick, Hitachi will announce that it will begin to bundle the BeOS as a standard feature in some of its new desktops. To date, no major manufacturer has included Be's software as a standard feature.

The series of announcements will likely serve to bring the Menlo Park, California-based software vendor back into the limelight. The company, which was founded by former Apple Computer executive Jean-Louis Gassee, has received high marks for its software but has enjoyed very little commercial success. In 1996, Apple was in negotiations to buy the company, but then backed out, reportedly because Be upped its asking price.

The Be investment will also mark the second investment in an operating system company this year for Intel. In September, the company took an equity stake in Red Hat Software, which markets a version of the Linux operating system.

Be and Intel have been linked for some time. Be, for instance, held a product demonstration at the Intel Developer Forum in September. Be has also received marketing funds and technical assistance, among other resources, from Intel in the past, an Intel spokesman told CNET in September.

Be would not disclose the size of the Intel investment but said that more details about its most recent round of financing would come out Monday. Venture capital firms that are expected to announce investments in Be include August Capital and Alta Partners.

Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network, publisher of