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NT pushes Apple to Be

Apple Computer's interest in acquiring Be reflects internal discussion over what to do about fast-growing Windows NT.

Apple Computer's interest in acquiring operating system software and hardware designer Be reflects internal discussion over what to do about the fast-growing Microsoft Windows NT operating system, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

While some at the beleaguered computer maker argue that Apple should simply license NT and begin offering it on its machines, others are looking to the Be deal as a way to revamp the company's intranet strategy and offer several operating systems, including the Mac OS and NT, for that market segment, the report said.

Be designs and manufacturers its own cutting-edge hardware and object-based operating system software that has become a favorite of software developers. The software also runs on Macintosh systems.

The upstart company has yet to receive any buyout or partnership offers from Apple Computer, despite media reports that talks have begun.

"There is no offer on the table," Jean-Louis Gass?e, Be's chief executive and former president of Apple Products said to CNET. "And I have dream investors who have deep pockets and are willing to take risks and ride with our venture." Gass?e added that he expects to have 1,000 developers lined up by the end of the year to work with the company's software.

Last April, Be's investors dumped $14 million into the company, following smaller investments of a few million since the company was founded in 1990.

While Apple (AAPL) is said to have more than $1.3 billion of cash on hand, analysts see a slew of obstacles standing between Apple and the acquisition, stemming mostly from uncertainties about Apple's long-term viability.

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