Be Incorporated

Be, Incorporated was the company that developed the BeOS operating system and the BeBox computer. The company was founded by Jean-Lous Gassée in 1990 with the money of friends in the industry, including the acclaimed Seymour Cray. The aim was to develop a new operating system, completely in C++ on its own hardware platform.

The operating system was later ported to Apple’s PowerPC Apple Macintosh systems, despite Apple’s opposition to help with Power Computing’s hardware. In 1998, the system was ported to the Intel x86 architecture, and PowerPC support was reduced, eventually discontinued after BeOS R5.

When Apple was looking for a new operating system to replace their aging Mac OS, the last two contenders were BeOS and NeXTSTEP. Ultimately, the deal went to NeXT due to the convincing influence of Steve Jobs and the incomplete state of the BeOS product, which was criticized at the time for lacking options, such as printing capabilities.

The company was eventually acquired by Palm, Inc. in 2001 for US$11 million, upon which the company was to be dissolved. The company then filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for anti-competitive practices, specifically preventing OEMs from enabling dual-boot systems that include both Microsoft and non-Microsoft operating systems.

The lawsuit was settled in September 2003 with a $23.25 million payout to Be, Inc.

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