Apple boss Gilbert Amelio will tomorrow fill in at least some of the gaps that have been tormenting industry watchers since his company startled the somnolent Christmas period by announcing plans to purchase Next Software. The Apple chairman and CEO is due to give the keynote address at the Macworld Expo beginning tomorrow in San Francisco, and will be joined by prodigal son Steve Jobs in outlining plans for integration. As part of the deal, Jobs returned to the company he co-founded in 1976 as an advisor reporting to Amelio.
The $400 million buyout surprised observers not only because of its size but also because Apple had been close to completing a deal with Be Inc. that could also have given it the tools to restore its operating system credibility.
"The acquisition of NeXT is the start of a new chapter in Apple's history and represents a milestone in our transformation as a corporation," said Amelio, Apple chairman and CEO. Amelio added that as well as providing the basis of a new MacOS to ship in 1997, the Next purchase would also be complementary in terms of Internet, multimedia and enterprise cross-platform software development.
Jobs said the NextStep OS would enable Apple to "leapfrog existing platforms, and fuel Apple and the industry copy cats for the next ten years and beyond".