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Be wins PersonalJava compliance award

Won't do much to boost its $68,000 revenue, though...

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Sun today patted Be on the head and said, "There's a good boy," for ensuring its information appliance-oriented BeIA operating system is Personal Java-compliant.

Personal Java essentially provides devices with a basic Java Virtual Machine. BeIA is a trimmed down version of Be's BeOS, developed for Web pads and the like, and so requires a pretty slimline JVM.

Of course, in the Wonderful World of the Worldwide Web, clever stuff like Flash and Real are rather more commonplace than Java, all of which are supported already by BeIA. But it's nice to be complete, isn't it, hence Be's implementation of Personal Java.

Indeed, one of Be's marketing strategies for BeIA is to stress its support for key Internet media technologies, which it claims is better than its rivals' operating systems.

Be sales and marketing chief Lamarr Potts is right to say that "consumers do not want to worry about the applications and plug-ins they need to access different Web sites", and that may well help the company tempt appliance developers to its OS.

It certainly needs to. During the last quarter, the company's third of fiscal 2000, Be netted sales of just $68,000, almost all of it from sales of the BeOS. That's not unexpected - when Be shifted its focus away from the desktop PC market and toward the information appliance business (such as it is), giving BeOS away for free in the process, it said there would be a major impact on ongoing revenues, but the company must still be getting pretty desperate for some juicy licensing deals.

So far, Be has signed up Compaq - for its upcoming Clipper appliance, though the deal is non-exclusive; Compaq could yet choose Linux instead - FIC, which will base its Genesis 2000 device on BeIA, and Taiwan's Arima. Hardly an impressive roster, but it's a start, we suppose.

Be didn't announce its loss in absolute figures - it simply said it lost 12 cents a share, a minor improvement on last quarter's 13 cents a share. Take into account one-off expenses, and the latest lost falls of 13 cents a share. ®

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