Be, Inc.’s 1998 demo video

“To this very day, this BeOS demonstration video from Be, Inc. blows my mind,” Thom Holwerda writes for OSNews.

“I’m not entirely sure about the date of the video, but since we’re looking at Pentium IIs and the Intel version of the BeOS, I’m guessing we’re in 1998,” Holwerda writes. “This means that while Windows users were barely getting by with Windows 98, and Mac users did not look at their Macs funny because otherwise Mac OS House Of Cards Edition would come crumbling down, the BeOS was doing the awesome stuff shown in the video.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Thank God that Apple had enough sense at the time to choose NeXT instead or Apple likely wouldn’t be here today.


  1. Fully agree with MDNs take.

    NeXT was the coolest system I have been working on. The NeXT pizza box carried me through the 90s just gracefully. Of course Mac OS X is much more shiny and up to date but I still miss some features of NeXTSTEP which have not made it into OS X.

    1. MDN still couldn’t bring themselves to acknowledge Amelio’s role, the one who really saved Apple. Many thought BeOS was the one Apple would get but the decision to get Next, its largest acquisition until Beats, was more than just the OS.

      Now if I could only avoid having to reboot Yosemite every two days…

      1. Really?
        The decision to go with NeXT was driven mainly by the BOD and initiated by the then CFO.
        Amelio neither understood the business Apple was in nor did he “save” the company outside of bringing in the people who did.

        As far as your having to reboot that often, I would get your hardware looked at. I only have to reboot for updates.

        1. Really. I didn’t say anything like “Amelio is personally responsible for choosing Next” but there’s a much bigger picture. The previous board and CEO nearly sold the company for pennies. Amelio knew inventory, bloated product lines, unstable OS, and a lack of future OS development direction needed to be fixed. He had the vision and brought in (and bought) the people to fix it.

          MDN has long bashed Amelio when it was Spindler who nearly killed Apple. It’s great that Jobs gets all of the credit (and time will show he should get more) but Amelio should at the least get credit for making the right decisions that he did and having the vision that Apple was worth saving.

          Not sure why you assume I’m having a hardware issue. Mavericks’ every-2-day log out/in (clear user processes) is now replaced with a need to restart. Well-known runaway resource and memory issues makes it a part of life.

          1. You must not have heard about Amelio’s obsession with adding more and more products. Under him, Apple’s product line became obese. Neither of them were great CEOs. And there you go again bitching about OS X. Why don’t you go buy a Windows PC with a shiny new copy of Windows 8.1? Yosemite and Mavericks have bugs, but they’re not the train wrecks that you make them out to be. Get your stuff fixed, and stop whining. Backup, erase, reinstall. Problem solved.

            1. No, you’re thinking of Scully then Spindler bloating the product lines. Amelio was not a great Apple CEO but he didn’t let the company get sold and made the right decisions.

              I made one personal OS-relevant statement then replied to someone else who latched onto it like you have done. I appreciate the “help” but I’m not keen on Windows-style D-and-R fixes, maybe if I didn’t mind wasting a day of productivity.

            2. I used to work for Apple, and I’ve been Mac user for over 28 years. I know Apple’s history quite well. Thanks! Windows style?????? Jeez. What ever. Don’t bitch and moan if you won’t accept advice about the problem. OS X is usually rock solid, but it does have its quirks like any other operating system. If you have to reboot a lot, you’ve got major problems either with hardware, or with software. I’ve gone as long as 2 months without a reboot using both Mavericks and Yosemite, and I use both of my systems a lot all day every day. OS X will treat you the same way you treat it. If you make mods or lard up the system with a bunch of crap you can expect instability.

            3. If you think that was “bitch and moan” then you are a very sensitive person. I’m obligated by today’s society to say I respect you for that, but you may not want to participate in online discussions.

              I completely agree about not larding up the system. I’m a programmer and try to keep things running as cleanly as possible for testing. I had great uptime before Yosemite. Maybe I’ve larded things up by having too many entries in my keychain, folder actions, too many bookmarks, bookmark syncing between browsers, too many browsers, too much email, too many Messages, too many photos, or too many movies in a remote library. You may be right that I’m the problem because I use it to the fullest.

          2. The problem with that is Amelio did nothing to alleviate the issues with runaway product SKUs or poor marketing or any of the problems facing the company at the time. Granted Spindler was a bigger disaster.
            Also, I run my Mac through some pretty heavy lifting and I do not have to restart, nor do I have issues. Not sure why you do but I suspect there may be other issues.

            1. The problems facing the company at the time were out of control R&D projects, borderline bankruptcy, hardware failures, an unstable OS, and no OS strategy. I don’t think marketing was their biggest problem (remember Mission Impossible and ID4?). He cut the projects, got them cash through at least 97, stabilized the OS (and clone licenses), got an OS strategy, and brought in Fred Anderson, Woz, and Jobs. Hard to pin Apple’s failings on a guy who was there 500 days yet accomplished so much that lasted so long.

              I’m hoping 10.10.3 smooths things out. So far so good except Folder Actions is still broken.

            2. “got them cash through at least 97, stabilized the OS (and clone licenses), got an OS strategy, and brought in Fred Anderson, Woz, and Jobs.”
              Got them cash? Nope.
              Stabilized the OS? How so? And the clones were still in place when Jobs came back. He was the one who axed that program.
              Got an OS strategy, well yeah… buy someone else.
              Brought in Fred Anderson. Yes. and this is the key point since it was Anderson who pushed for NeXT and Jobs. Woz was hardly a good fit at that point.

            3. Got them cash is a matter of fact, not opinion. It was the highest priority since they were nearly out of money. Nothing else would matter if that did not happen.

              The OS was unstable. Getting a team on Mac OS 8 improved stability, put the licensees on their heals, and pulled in some Copland features.

              I didn’t say Amelio killed the clones. (?)

              There was no usable OS strategy and time was up. That’s why they were looking to license or buy WinNT, Solaris, Be, Next, etc. What is your point?

              So what if Anderson helped sway Amelio to Next compared to Hancock pushing for Solaris? I think we’re on the same page.

              No one cared if Woz was a good fit. No one. It was a huge deal that the band was back together. A huge moral booster for customers, and probably for many inside the company.

      2. The only good decision Amelio made was to buy NeXT and bring Steve Jobs back. I’m remembering his statement about Apple being a ship with a hole in the bottom, and it was his job to make everyone row in the same direction. If you have to reboot Yosemite every two days, then you need to get that fixed. I have it running on two Macs, a late 2013 MacBook Pro, and a late 2012 Mac mini. It runs great on both, and rarely ever reboot. Whining on MDN about your tech issues does nothing to help you. It’s amazing to me how few people understand about how to keep a computer running properly.

        1. So you think Amelio made a poor decision in disagreeing with Spindler and everyone else to sell Apple for pennies?

          I hardly think that making an on-topic side comment about Yosemite is whining. I wasn’t asking for anyone’s help. I understand full well how to keep a computer running properly. I’m way past that step.

          That’s awesome that Yosemite is working great for you. Unfortunately, not everyone has had the same experience.

  2. If you look at Steve Jobs 1992 next demo video, he present far more advanced technologies than any OS on the market that day and more advanced than any windows version before windows 7. Not even Mac os had all those features 3 years after next acquisition by apple.

    1. Thea but it didn’t have a BSOD like M$, and Be OS tech support would be handicapped, they wouldn’t be able to tell customers to, “shut-up and reboot.”

      Be OS was really ahead of M$ in many ways. 😀

    2. Yea, I installed BeOS on my Mac to play with. It was missing some important things and some installs were far from user friendly. (it was still beta). It was also my first exposure to a modern OS and it blew me away with what it could do.

      But in the end, what Apple needed as badly as a modern OS was a Steve Jobs. Looking back in retrospect, Apple was a lot worse off than I realized. I’m as happy as anyone that things worked out the way it did. (except for that cancer thing)

  3. Impressive for 1998 (compared to Win98 or Mac OS 8), but I’m not seeing anything that I wasn’t doing on NeXTStep 3.3….in 1995 (or was it ’96?), and on far slower hardware.

    NeXTStep was mind-bogglingly ahead of its time, relative to what else was available, and not only did Apple get their top-notch technology in the acquisition, they (arguably more importantly) got Steve Jobs back.

  4. I remember back in ’97 or ’98 thinking that Apple had made a mistake going with NeXT over Be. I definitely stand corrected. They made the right choice to go with NeXT, and not just because Jobs came along with it.

    At the time though, I felt like NeXT required systems that were far more powerful than Be did. Be ran amazingly on off-the-shelf budget hardware. NeXT (and Apple’s first few versions of OSX) did not, they were dog slow on average desktops of the era. But once the power of the average desktop caught up with what NeXT required in order to run well, it just took off like a rocket.

    1. Trouble is Be never really got to run the heavy weight stuff that ‘real’ operating systems had to or that was what was constantly stated at the time. Be was good but lightweight in prototype form, Apple would have gone for it mind if the price hadn’t been so high. Others poked around and proposed big plans but strangle it never made headway so maybe it had more style over substance but still a waste that it’s originators over played their hand though clearly NOT for Apple.

      1. Exactly, Apple choose NeXT over Be because it was more mature and had a better dev environment. NeXT had a faster time to market for Apple. Neither would have been enough to “save” Apple, that was Jobs doing with new focus, talents, visions and products.

  5. Wow, why the negative feedback about BeOS? It has some fantastic capabilities that are now built into OS X. I’d almost go as far as to say that BeOS was *more* capable than OS X is today in certain ways. Sure, the interface wasn’t as Mac-like, but the power is definitely there.

    1. it was there and powerful during the clone wars
      my 7600 ran BeOs well yet it wasn’t perfect nor was there much software – BeOS limited themselves thinking as the sound and video power alternative house like linux was as a os. BeOs should have expressed themselves as a dominate os alternative to everything

  6. Looks like around 1995-1996. Gasse screwed the company, got too greedy and wanted too much $ for the company. So Apple went to Next (thank goodness).

    From wikipedia: “BeOS had many of the features Apple sought, and around Christmas time they offered to buy Be for $120 million, later raising their bid to $200 million. However, despite estimates of Be’s total worth at approximately $80 million,[citation needed] Gassée held out for $275 million, and Apple balked. “

  7. Gassé put too high a price tag on Be and I’m glad he did. It was a great OS, but it did not come with a marketing wiz who had any imagination for hardware. The NeXt acquisition was the thing that saved Apple.

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