CUPERTINO, California. April 1, 1997. In a dramatic and unexpected
move, Apple Computer CEO Dr. Gilbert F. Amelio announced this morning
that Apple was halting development of its upcoming Rhapsody operating
system but gave few details about its replacement.
Dr. Amelio said, "Recent rumors have surfaced that we were actually
somewhat ahead of schedule on Rhapsody and had even begun development
as soon as the NeXT purchase looked probable. I want to send a clear
signal today that Rhapsody will not be delivered ahead of schedule, or
delivered at all. It was, in fact, never our intention to do so. We
bought NeXT in order to kill its technology to keep it from being a
competitive threat, and we will return to our traditional state of
having no definable plan for a future OS."
In a separate briefing, former CTO Ellen Hancock outlined the plans
for the replacement strategy. "We have learned that most large
corporations have not upgraded to Windows 95," she said, "and we
therefore believe that in order to improve Apple's market share, we
must provide a Windows 3.1-like solution." Apple plans to buy the
source code to Windows 3.1 from Microsoft for $400 million, she said.
Although Hancock would not commit to a timetable for delivery of the
operating system, anonymous sources inside Apple said that a
developer's release would be ready in time for the May developer's
conference. "Granted, DR1 will probably just be SoftWindows running
on top of the current MacOS," he said, "but we think it's more
important to get something into developers' hands quickly." According
to this source, the upcoming OS -- code-named Requiem -- will ship to
users on Feb 29, 2000. Although some observers argued about whether
the calendar rules permit this date to exist, others were not worried,
since many PCs are expected to have problems keeping the correct date
past the turn of the century anyway, and asked, "Why worry about
February 29 when you can't even get past the first of January?"
Typical of analysts' mixed reactions were comments by Macintosh
industry observer Peter Heartsoak. "We suspected that Apple was
simply trying to get rid of competition when it bought NeXT," he said.
"Even Dr. Amelio can't be crazy enough to really want Steve Jobs back
at Apple. He would have preferred to get rid of Be, Inc., but their
price was too high. Jobs is probably eager for revenge on the company
that ejected him and was willing to lower his price for NeXT to get is
malevolent foot back in the door." Although the announcement leaves
Apple with no clear OS strategy, Heartsoak was not concerned. "Apple
has survived the past few years without articulating a strong strategy
and will no doubt muddle through a few more, although the choice of
Requiem as the code name for the new product is somewhat disturbing,"
Happy April 1! (Yes, this post is a silly joke.)
Eric Bennett ( firstname.lastname@example.org ; <http://www.pobox.com/~ericb )