Jean-Louis Gassée: Thank God Apple chose Steve Jobs’s NeXT over my BeOS

“Jean-Louis Gassée, Apple’s former head of Macintosh product development between 1981-1990, has commented on Apple’s crucial choice of Steve Jobs’s NeXTSTEP as their operating system back in 1996 instead of BeOS, his own creation,” Christian Zibreg reports for 9to5Mac. “Much of NeXTSTEP code would make possible Mac OS X, later adapted for Apple’s mobile devices.”

Zibreg reports, “Speaking at a Churchill Club “Steve Jobs’ Legacy” talk event (which is fantastic the whole way through – above) in San Jose yesterday, Gassée remarked (at about an hour in): ‘Thank god that didn’t happen, because I hated Apple’s management.'”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. NeXT was a completed operating system. BeOS was a hobby for Gassee and incomplete. Thank ALL our lucky stars Gassee was so greedy asking millions upon millions for it making then CEO Gil Amelio balk and look to NeXT and Steve Jobs. Ironically they paid even more for NeXT than BeOS would have cost but they would be much further along in the game which was vital after wasting so much time with Copeland, and with a much superior OS. Jobs seemed to waste very little in all of his investments in technology. Others can’t say the same.

  2. Apple was willing to pay $125m for BeOS, but Be Inc. got greedy and wouldn’t sell for less than $200m. Apple refused to comply, and within a couple of years Be Inc. had massive debts and was worth next to nothing.

    So don’t try to tell us you’re glad Apple didn’t play ball, Jean-Louis!

    1. Apple then paid $400 million for NeXT, double what they wouldn’t pay for the BeOS, but the real bargain was getting Steve Jobs back, worth billions as history has shown.

      Yeah I love the fact Gassee ended up with nothing for all his greediness. Wah, waah, waaaaah.

      1. This could end up the same way even if Gassee would agree to $125 million deal.

        Jobs was already competing there and persuading actively that his approach is better.

        So even if Be would be cheap and accessible, Jobs could still make the deal his own way.

          1. BeOS was incomplete (i.e. couldn’t even print etc.) and development cost going forward wasn’t included in the sales tag. It was pricey (when taken into consideration for cost, time and opportunity/relevancy) for what it was at that point.

            In a way, everything had aligned perfectly in the Universe to get it dented properly.

  3. And here’s the best claim chowder of all time:


    “Apple did precisely the wrong thing. Now the only future for the company is to get smaller and smaller until there’s nothing left. In fact, the only sensible conversation to have about Apple is the one in which you argue about how long it will take to die. (Before I go on, you should know that my venture capital partnership, New Enterprise Associates, has a big stake in Be, a computer company that Apple recently considered buying.)”

    Hard to see straight when you just lost a bunch of money…

    1. Priceless!

      If you look at the author’s LinkedIn page, you can see that soon after that article she moved on to areas of journalism more in tune with her expertise.

  4. The more cogent question is not whether Gil Amelio made the right choice in bringing back Steve but whether Steve in appointing Tim Cook is John Sculley redux. Will a third coming of Steve be required to save Apple in 2020?

        1. Steve isn’t gone. Siri isn’t the name of the new personal assistant in the iPhone 4S. That’s just what they want you to believe. And don’t buy that hullabaloo about the tech coming from SRI and the old Siri app. That was a cover-up to hide the REAL genius behind Siri.

          S.I.R.I. is an A.I. that currently maintains nearly all day-to-day operations at Apple, Inc., including overseeing product and component inventory levels, streamlining design and fabrication processes, and analyzing company-wide communications to better assist teams with ideas that would greatly complement each other. The acronym stands for Steve’s Intelligence Remains Intact, and as part of a secret fail-safe in the event that Steve would succumb to his cancer, the technology was developed to scan a human brain and create an artificial intelligence from the information gathered.

          Steve’s unique vision is the key behind the world’s first true A.I. and it continues to monitor our iMessages and any information stored in iCloud so that Apple can continue to improve our products. When Siri goes live in future devices, it will expand her reach throughout the globe, creating the first world A.I., but unlike SkyNet, she will be benevolent.

          Okay, that’s probably all just wishful thinking, but it’d still be pretty awesome.

      1. Wasn’t Steve a Buddhist? Maybe we should do like they do with the Dalai Lama and look for his reincarnation in a few years. Like a kid who instinctively knows what an iPod is, and cries unless you dress him in a black turtleneck.

        j/k of course. 🙂


        1. You don’t even have to go all the way to the eastern religions to make this happen . . . I mean his son is 20 and by 2020 he would be 28 . . . maybe he has a son or daughter that has the right genes . . . or is that jeans : )

      2. His second act was with NeXT and Pixar. Jobs ultimately earned more money through Pixar than he did with Apple. His third act is when he returned to Apple. I’d contend his 4th act started soon/right after he was made aware of his mortality and his broader/revised vision of Apple going forward from that point. Outcome of this latest act may not be apparent readily at this stage. Etc.

  5. Lately I have been re-readin Gassée’s book, The Thired Apple, written around 1985, when he was on the original Macintosh marketing team.

    The man has the soul of a poet. I can understand why Steve Jobs hired him.

    He certainly doesn’t deserve the trash talk heaped on him by the revisionist latter day know-nothing punks.

  6. Gas see played chicken/hardball with Apple and lost. No reason to trash the guy for that. Most other people didn’t like Apple’s management at that time either, including Steve Jobs.

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