The board of directors of Apple Computer met in Cupertino, California on Wednesday to discuss a planned takeover of Be as time runs out for the troubled firm to announce plans for a next generation operating system.
Apple is making no official comment, but sources close to the company say that chief technology officer Ellen Hancock and chief executive Gil Amelio are determined to use next month's Mac Expo trade show in San Francisco to announce a new strategy to give a multimedia facelift to the Mac OS.
Acquisition would represent a climbdown for Hancock, who said a month ago that Apple would develop its core technologies inhouse.
Negotiations were opened in June with Be, but stalled over the asking price, rumoured to be in the region of $100 million. Apple executives had hoped to close the deal by the end of October so that a high profile announcement could be made at Comdex in Las Vegas.
This week's board meeting had the planned takeover on the agenda and is also believed to have considered the option of licensing the Be technology rather than buying the technology.
But despite comments by Hancock about pursuing several options other than Be, it looks increasingly inevitable that Apple is going to have to bite bullet and pay up.
Be founder Jean-Louis Gassee, a former Apple executive, seems confident that it is almost a done deal, highlighting Apple's need to make some announcement about the future of Mac OS soon. "Everyone's haggling about price and how much money I'm going to make," he said, commenting on the protracted negotiations.
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