Apple to detail its OS plans

The server version of MacOS is expected later this year -- before the release of Rhapsody.

Apple Computer Inc. is expected on Tuesday to introduce a version of its Macintosh operating system for computer servers and possibly details on the next version of the operating system for its popular personal computers.

The major upgrade of the software, its biggest overhaul in many years, will combine features from the current Mac OS and Next Computer Inc's Rhapsody operating system. Apple acquired Next in late 1996, as it was developing Rhapsody.

The server version of the Mac OS, which is software to run Macintosh-based networks, was expected to be available sometime before the big upgrade of the Mac OS later this year. "It's going to take a while for it to build (a customer base)," said Lou Mazzucchelli, an analyst at Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co., but he added that the server version of the new operating system has some key features, such as the ability to stream video across networks.

A spokeswoman for Apple Computer in California would only say that Apple plans a significant software and strategy announcement on Tuesday. Apple interim chief executive Steve Jobs will be making the announcements.

Apple faces some tough competition in the server area, with the Linux free operating system gaining more support from major computer makers and increasingly widespread use among Internet service providers and Web site applications. But Mazzucchelli pointed out that he expects Apple to offer a better pricing model than Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT operating system. "It will be licensed on a per server basis and it will be more palatable than Windows NT licensing," Mazzucchelli said, adding that Microsoft licenses Windows NT on a per user basis.


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