It’s been no surprise that
Be Inc., the creator of the BeIA and BeOS operating systems, has been for sale. The buyer has turned out to be
Palm has entered into a definitive agreement to buy Be’s intellectual property and technology assets for US$11 million, to be paid in common stock of Palm, which Be currently intends to liquidate as soon as reasonably practicable following the closing of the transaction. Be’s board of directors has approved the transaction, and the winding-up of Be’s operating business following the closing.
The closing of the transaction and the winding-up are subject to the approval of Be’s stockholders, and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. According to a statement announcing the acquisition, Be says it will be retaining certain rights, assets and liabilities in connection with the transaction. The retained rights and assets include Be’s cash and cash equivalents, receivables, certain contractual rights and rights to assert and bring certain claims and causes of action, including under antitrust laws.
Be is best known to Mac fans as the company Apple considered buying back in 1997. Speculation had it 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 the flamboyant 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.