The BeOS offers an excellent opportunity for developers interested in performance-hungry multimedia applications. It offers developers a excellent new opportunity, with low entry cost on a new and interesting platform.
We like to use the following formula for thinking about how and why developers become interested in a computing platform:
(Opportunity / Cost) x Innovation = Developer Interest
Opportunity = the amount of money/exposure a particular platform will provide.
The BeOS offers a rapidly growing installed base with application-hungry end users. We've distributed over 750,000 copies of the BeOS on the PowerPC architecture and have now started revenue sales of the product on both Intel and PowerPC architectures. Sales forecasts are notoriously inaccurate (especially when done by salespeople, which is where this one comes from), but we expect to have sold over 50,000 copies of the BeOS by the end of 1998.
Another important advantage for the BeOS is that it offers a "protected harbor" for smaller developers to create, bring to market, and sell their modern OS applications before entering other extremely competitive
Cost = the cost of developing and marketing the product.
For many developers, the BeOS offers a low development cost due to a lean
API, the lack of legacy baggage, and the use of C++ and MetroWerks tools familiar to many developers.
Just as important is that marketing and distribution costs are significantly lower compared to existing markets. This is due to lack of established competitors and use of electronic distribution, which radically lowers distribution costs. These two factors mean that small developers can realistically enter and establish themselves in the BeOS marketplace.
Innovation = this is an intangible that attracts many developers
simply because they can do things never done before. The BeOS offers
developers new capabilities, a lean API, and a "low-friction" operating system that enables them to rapidly develop applications never before possible.