Apple reportedly in licensing negotiations with Next and Sun
By Sari Kalin
Posted at 3:17 PM PT, Dec 16, 1996
Three weeks before it is due to unveil its long-term operating system
strategy, Apple Computer has reportedly been talking with Next Software's
CEO about licensing or buying the NextStep OS.
In addition to talks with Next's Steve Jobs, an Apple co-founder, Apple has
also been talking to Sun Microsystems about using its Solaris operating
system, according to a report in today's The Wall Street Journal.
Officials at Apple, Next, and Sun declined to comment on the report. Apple
plans to outline its OS strategy at Macworld, which is being held in San
Francisco from Jan. 7 to 10.
For months, Apple has been rumored to be in discussions with Be Inc. about
a possible acquisition or licensing deal to give it access to Be's OS.
Apple has repeatedly denied those rumors.
One analyst, however, said on Monday that the deal is nearly done but is
being held up over price and over what role Be's founder, former Apple
research director Jean-Louis Gassee, would have in Apple.
Given that, the rumored talks with Next and Sun could be Apple's attempt
"to get some leverage on Be," said Chris Le Tocq, principal analyst at
Dataquest, in San Jose, Calif.
"[Gassee] believes he has a great deal of leverage and is asking more than
Apple wants to pay," Le Tocq said. "[Apple's] persuading the The Wall
Street Journal to publish that they're looking at Next and Sun would be
widely regarded as an attempt to get some leverage where they have none."
Apple Computer Inc., based in Cupertino, Calif., is at
http://www.apple.com/. Next Software Inc., based in Redwood City, Calif.,
is at http://www.next.com/. Sun Microsystems Inc., based in Mountain View,
Calif., is at http://www.sun.com/.
Sari Kalin is a Boston correspondent with the IDG News Service, an