Apple has no plans to dump Next's Wintel and Unix products once the companies' merger is complete, Apple chief Gil Amelio claimed this week.
Amelio moved to reassure users of Next's Web Objects and Openstep technologies that Apple would continue to support cross-platform development. He posted an open letter on the Apple and Next Web sites yesterday, aiming to dampen speculation from many analysts and Apple software houses that there would be no resources for non-PowerPC projects.
"We intend to continue to offer these product lines and services to you and to other enterprise customers," said the letter. In it, Amelio promises that the Web Objects and Web Objects Pro object oriented tools will be developed and enhanced, and "we plan to continue selling Web Objects to current and future customers in markets where it is being sold now, with the same sales and support resources". Web Objects will also be integrated more closely with Apple software technology over time, and will be ported to the Power Mac.
Openstep Enterprise, which consists of programming interfaces and development tools and is licensed by companies such as Sun, will also be enhanced for all platforms and will also be a key element in the new Apple operating system, whose first iteration, codenamed Rhapsody, is due in July. This will be the first step to full integration of Openstep on the PowerPC platform.
However, versions for Intel-NT and Unix boxes will "not be downgraded in terms of sales and support", despite the focus on PowerPC, said an Apple spokesperson. Next sources also claim Apple will go ahead with Next's planned release of Openstep for Windows 95 later this year.
"Apple will maintain Next's commitment to cross-platform and cross-processor support and will continue to develop, sell and support products for Windows NT, Solaris, HP-UX and Nextstep. This aligns perfectly with Apple's overall strategy of moving core technologies such as Quicktime cross-platform," the letter continued.
The first improvement to Openstep will be updated and enhanced API documentation, to be released this summer, Amelio said.
Meanwhile Be, the company that Apple considered buying instead of Next, claimed this week that it still has a "good working relationship" with Apple and the other PowerPC processor supplier, and will focus its strategy as an independent company on high end multimedia machines based on four PowerPC processors. It will concentrate on software in the future, with most hardware coming through its new tie-up with Mac clonemaker Power Computing. Howver, it will continue to make its own PowerPC Bebox machines as long as there is demand, said chief executive Jean-Louis Gassee.
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