Apple?s next generation OS, Rhapsody, looks in danger of being delayed as Microsoft is putting pressure on the Mac manufacturer to steer it away from a collision course with its own Windows NT platform.
The move comes after Apple stunned the industry by selling a $150 million chunk of its business to Microsoft, resulting in the software giant gaining non-voting shares and a five per cent stake. There was also an estimated extra $100 million in settlement of the two companies? long-running payment disputes, and an undisclosed amount for licensing Apple technology.
But Apple co-founder Steve Jobs failed to mention Rhapsody in his keynote speech at Mac World, raising fears about the future of the Mac platform and whether it will ship by the end of the year. While Apple wants its developers and customers to continue to support the Mac OS, Microsoft wants to avoid a clash with its NT offering.
Apple executives claimed that Jobs did not mention Rhapsody because he wanted to dispel fears that Apple would ditch the Mac OS. But Apple conceded that Rhapsody would aim for the NT space.
Clone manufacturers Power Computing and Umax are furious that the vendor did not refer to the issue of licensing Rhapsody during the speech. Power Computing CEO Joel Kocher claimed Apple ?is not committed to sharing technology?.
Mark Murphy, enterprise platform manager for Apple UK, said: ?Mac OS is suitable for clone licensing. Rhapsody is still in a developer release state, so licensing it isn?t appropriate at present. We?re currently evaluating the future situation.?
Other industry sources have speculated that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, recently appointed to the Apple board, plans to use the Mac OS as the base platform for his network computer strategy. Under this model, Macs would be used as clients in a networked environment, running Java applets of Microsoft Office from a central server.
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