If fate had twisted in a different direction, Be. Inc. might have been bought by Apple a few years ago and the BeOS might have been wed to the traditional Mac operating system to form Mac OS X.
But “mights” don’t count. And on March 15, Be will file a “certificate of dissolution” with the Delaware Secretary of State. As of the close of business on the day Be files the certificate of dissolution, Be will set the record date as that day for purposes of determining the stockholders that will be eligible to participate in the final distribution of Be’s assets, if any. Also on that day, Be will close its stock transfer books and cease recording transfers of shares of its common stock. Be will then voluntarily delist from the Nasdaq and Be shares will no longer be traded on the Nasdaq beginning the next trading day after the certificate of dissolution is filed.
In other words, Be will officially cease to exist as a company. It won’t be entirely gone, however. Last year, Palm bought the company’s intellectual property assets. Though it’s unclear what will become of those assets, expect to see them rolled into the Palm operating system in some form or the other.
Be is best known to Mac fans as the company Apple considered buying back in 1997. Speculation was that Apple would buy the company and use its operating system as the basis to build a next generation operating system. Instead, Apple ended up buying NeXT, the computing firm Steve Jobs started after leaving Apple in 1985.
Be Inc., was founded as a company “focusing on building new foundations for the next generation of digital content and media design tools” in 1990 by Jean-Louis Gassee, formerly of Apple. In its early days, the BeOS ran only on PowerPC machines and was promoted as an alternative operating system to the Mac OS. Eventually, the BeOS was ported to the Intel platform and PowerPC support was dropped because of compatibility issues that Apple refused to resolve.
Last month, Be filed suit against Microsoft Corp. for the “destruction of Be’s business resulting from the anticompetitive business practices of Microsoft.” The lawsuit alleges, among other claims, that Microsoft harmed Be through a series of illegal exclusionary and anticompetitive acts designed to maintain its monopoly in the Intel-compatible PC operating system market and created exclusive dealing arrangements with original equipment manufacturers prohibiting the sale of PCs with multiple preinstalled operating systems.
online note, the Be board of directors thanked patrons of the company for “the support you’ve given Be Incorporated over the years.” They thanked users and customers for helping the company “bring its contribution to the progress of desktop and internet appliance operating systems.”