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At January 7, 1997:Letter to Customers from Ellen Hancock


Mac OS Strategy Announcement:Letter to Customers from Ellen Hancock
January 7, 1997

Dear Apple customers:

Today at Macworld in San Francisco, we unveiled our strategy and road map for future versions of the Macintosh operating system, for your Macintosh and Mac OS-compatible personal computers.

This is an extremely important announcement for you - and us. That's because it provides you with answers to questions I know have been on your mind and clarifies where we're going with your Macintosh platform. And while there are lots of specifics that you should pay attention to, let me tell you right up front the two most important things you need to know about new strategy and road map:

* We're protecting - and extending - your current investment in Macintosh. Our strategy is to offer you what we call a 'dual track' approach to Mac OS development. This means we are committing to continue to significantly enhance the current Mac OS, even as we develop a new OS. And that new OS, which we're developing with NeXT and Apple software, will be backward compatible with Mac OS applications and software. So this means you can continue to invest in, work on, and enjoy Macintosh as we continue to add value to and support your platform into the next century. We're making the transition simple and easy, so you can move from Mac OS to our new OS at your own speed and when it makes sense for you.

* Our goal is a new OS that will set the standard for computing in the 21st Century. By blending Apple's and NeXT's advanced software (as you know, at the end of 1996 we entered into an agreement to acquire NeXT), we aim to create a software platform that breaks the barriers of current operating systems and will be able to take full advantage of the high performance microprocessors of the future. This OS should make it easy for developers to quickly create breakthrough applications, while providing you with the performance, reliability, speed, ease of use, and the greatly enhanced multimedia and Internet capabilities you'll want in the 21st Century. Our first customer release of this new OS, intended for early adopters of new technology, is called Rhapsody, and should be ready within a year; with a full customer release slated for mid-1998.

Attached you'll find more details about the new OS strategy. So please read on. But in the meantime, let me simply thank all Apple customers for their ongoing support, loyalty, and patience as we developed this new strategy. We're confident it was worth the wait, and that we've made a decision that offers you the best of both worlds: enhanced value for your current Mac investment, and an easy migration to the best the 21st Century will have to offer.

Happy New Year!

Ellen Hancock, CTO