Apple Casts Wider Net to Solve Woes

Times Staff and Wire Reports

Since the stall of Apple Inc.'s negotiations to buy Be Inc. from its former technology chief, Jean-Louis Gassee, the troubled Cupertino computer company has turned to Next Inc., the software outfit started by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Sources said Jobs made a presentation to Apple's management team, outlining how Next's software could become a suitable successor to Apple's Macintosh operating system. Apple is also considering licensing a version of the Unix operating system from Sun Microsystems Inc., the Mountain View workstation maker that failed earlier this year to merge with Apple. "We're talking to a number of different parties regarding operating system development and we have a number of good options in front of us," said Christopher Escher, vice president of corporate communications. Apple expects to reveal its software strategy at the Macworld Exhibition on Jan. 7 in San Francisco. Apple shares lost 62.5 cents to close at $22.625 on Nasdaq.

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