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Apple Businesses

Will Apple and Microsoft Renew their Vows? 92

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the match-made-in-hell dept.
krugdm writes "Remember about five years ago when Apple announced their deal with Microsoft where Apple agreed to bundle IE with new Macs and drop a patent lawsuit, and the guys from Redmond were to continue to develop Office for the Mac as well as purchase $150 million in Apple stock? Well, that deal expires this summer. describing the love-hate relationship the two companies have had in the time since 1997 and wonders whether the pact will be renewed."
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Will Apple and Microsoft Renew their Vows?

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  • to the future of the Mac platform.

    I think MS will continue to support the platform b/c they really don't want it to die for various reasons (anti-trust...mac apps make $ etc)

    Still, Apple should be rolling up its sleeves and Aqua-izing Open Office ASAP.
    • Still, Apple should be rolling up its sleeves and Aqua-izing Open Office ASAP

      I don't think they'll be doing that any time soon. They already have AppleWorks, and it does a pretty good job of opening MS Office docs. I'd expect them to beef up Works if they were going to push Office type apps.
    • Outside of Microsoft, other important things for the Mac OS X platform include the release of a fully native versions of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe PageMaker and Adobe Premiere (although Final Cut Pro might work in some cases)... and some other key tools. It seems to me that Quark and Macromedia have been more active in releasing native applications for Mac OS X (I haven't followed that scene too much, so I could be somewhat wrong there).

      Office and Internet Explorer are fairly important to the platform, but not always as important as the tools for AV technicians, 3D artists, graphics designers, and page layout designers.

      • I heard a os x version 7 of photoshop will soon be forthcoming.
        • For the graphics designers, I hope that is true. Personally, I would rather wait for Adobe to thoroughly test the software and make sure that all of the major and somewhat-major bugs and performance kinks are worked out, then see a shoddy release. Though I do know that the patience of some are beginning to wear thin.

          So far, I have been fairly happy with the performance enhancements made and bugs squashed in the 10.1.3 update (compared to 10.1 anyways).

      • Forget PageMaker. Adobe has been pumping resources into InDesign as their Quark killer. It already has a native OS X version.
      • I'm not an adobe apologist or anything. In fact, I'm often more likely to use Macromedia products (web developer...). However, Adobe has really stepped up to the plate on getting their stuff carbonized. InDesign, LiveMotion, GoLive, Illustrator ALL OS X ready. And Photoshop 7 is supposedly just around the corner. Macromedia really needs to get off their duff and carbonize Flash and Dreamweaver, or they'll find Adobe converts.
  • by Lewisham (239493) on Friday February 22, 2002 @11:59AM (#3051585)
    Although Microsoft like to pretend otherwise, the courts do scare them somewhat. The fact they "develop" for multiple platforms forms an important building block in their case, and in any subsequent (and inevitable) case.

    MS will continue to develop, they just might not ink it.
  • by gouldtj (21635) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:00PM (#3051606) Homepage Journal
    We'll see. Apple has alot more leverage in this deal now that it has been ruled that Microsoft is a monopoly. MS needs to have Office on Mac, otherwise they are only choosing one platform for their office suite. I don't think that they are going to port it to Linux anytime soon, but I could be supprised.
  • I have to imagine it will all get sorted out in the end. Steve JObs has said some nasty things about Microsoft, a la:
    Microsoft...has no class. I don't mean that in a small way, I mean it in a big way.

    --Revenge of the Nerds
    But he's also expressed some quasi-positive remarks, noting that:
    If you all want Word and Excel so much, you have to learn to like this guy.

    --Calming a booing MacWorld Expo crowd when Bill's head loomed at them on the big screen.
    People like using Office (especially v.X--that thing is pretty--wow). Microsoft likes Apple marketing a viable OS for non-technical users. They may not be in each others' contractually obligated pockets as much, but I'm confident that Apple has enough awareness of Microsoft's hegemony and Microsoft has enough awareness of Apple's ingenuity to just warily stare at the other guy through the future.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:11PM (#3052282)
      Okay, it's a pipe dream. Won't happen. But this is what I imagine...

      Rumors are circulating wildly about the new Apple / Microsoft alliance leading up to MacWorld New York.

      Steve Jobs comes on to the floor. He reminds people of the productive business relationship that Microsoft and Apple have had. The benefits that have been nurtured by the mutual cooperation for the past five years. He asks that the lights go down and they start to show the message that Bill Gates delivered five years ago.

      After 30 seconds or so. A woman wearing red running shorts and carrying a sledgehammer comes storming through the crowd and hurls it up at the giant screen. Shattering things and leaving the crowd in shocked silence before erupting in massive noise.

      Jobs goes on to announce that despite the working together, only one partner has grown as a result: Microsoft. He wants to end that.

      He announces a three pronged attack:
      1) Open Sourcing AppleWorks 7 to be the new free business app of choice on Windows, Linux, and Mac's that will kill reliance on MS Office.
      2) A port of Mac OS X Server (not client) to be licensed to any WinTel maker at the same rates as MS Windows Server.
      3) The start of an aggressive new ad campaign that really crucifies the Windows as being fundamentally insecure and poorly designed.

      Wild fantasy. Nothing like this will happen, but that's what I imagine in my wildest dreams. :-)
      • Open Sourcing AppleWorks 7 to be the new free business app of choice on Windows, Linux, and Mac's that will kill reliance on MS Office.

        This actually sounds like a pretty damned good idea. I could see why Apple wouldn't want to port OSX to intel, but it doesn't seem like they'd lose much by open sourcing AppleWorks. To the contrary, actually - cut Office off at the knees, and provide the entire market with a stable, free office suite that anyone can use on any platform. Computer users NEED this.

      • Isn't appleworks and microsoftworks the same thing? I thought that they were both really repackaged clarisworks. But then again I haven't seen a new copy of msworks in like four years, not that I've been looking.
      • You do know that there is already AppleWorks [apple.com] for Windows?
    • Actually, he said they have no taste, not they have no class (although I'm sure that's been said as well ;). Probably an error in Revenge of the Nerds, which is largely "based on actual events" aka "poorly researched." The whole quote goes:

      "The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their product. So I guess I am saddened, not by Microsoft's success: I have no problem with their success. They've earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products."
      --Triumph of the Nerds PBS documentary interview (May 1996)

  • Givens:

    a) MS makes good money from software developed in their Mac Business Unit.

    b) Apple needs Offfice to thrive, possibly even to survive at this point.

    c) The demand for Office is "relatively inelastic," as my old econ prof used to say.

    Thus, MS will continue to make Office for the Macintosh. Apple will continue to strike deals if neccessary to keep it that way. Because the agreement is over, however, and because the deamand is inelastic, MS is under no obligation to make quality, timely releases at fair prices with feature pairity with Windows. They can offer crap and we'll buy it. So it'll be there, but MS may be more free now to give us lower quality.

    • I strongly agree with this comment. Office on the Mac has long been known to be a strong money-maker for Microsoft.

      It seems likely that MS's standard MO would be to keep Apple on the hook as long as possible with this, playing up the insecurity, in order to get further concessions from Apple.

      However, Apple needs a five-year guarantee less than it did, um, five years ago, especially now that MS Office has made the big technology transition to Mac OS X (using the Carbon APIs) that was absolutely crucial for Apple's survival.

      My prediction is that we may see a bit of drama on this issue, but that there isn't going to be a big sweeping deal as we saw before.
  • by vonkraken (228236) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:28PM (#3051860)
    I would hope that the relationship would disolve this summer. It would behoove Apple to make sure that Microsoft did not establish a toehold in the OS itself. How many Microsoft apps out there require some sort of tie into the underpinning of the OS to function? Quite a few. How long would it be before Office Mac requires you to modify OS X to run it? That would be a horrible sight. If Apple utilizes AppleWorks and OpenOffice to get the access needed to the Office and Microsoft formatted files, then that is all that is needed (assuming that MS doesn't deliberatly break/change formats to prohibit 3rd party apps from reading files). Features that only Microsoft has can be replicated with time. I am positive that with some hard work, all other Office alternatives could strive and succeed at becoming as bloated as Office. Some patience will serve Macintosh users well in this case.

    Cheers,

    Von Kraken
    • As a long term strategy, it's in Apple's best interest to package software which will also run on Linux boxes. Packaging the new Star Office to be released this spring along with whatever stable version of Netscape comes out of Mozilla's projected 1.0 release this summer with OSX, instead of MS office and IE, would help to erode MS's market share. Mac users are generally willing to go along with whatever great new marketing scheme Apple throws out there (no floppy???). Shouldn't be too hard for Apple to sell open source based software as in the "spirit of OSX," a contrast to the evil empire. With that, we might reach the necessary threshold even sooner of office users who must switch away from MS Office formats before the revolution can take place.

      And here's another possibility. If I were Apple, I'd be considering a buy of Corel. After all, that would give them the true independence they have needed from MS all these years.
      • As a long term strategy, it's in Apple's best interest to package software which will also run on Linux boxes.

        Why? If you want people to shell out $ for your OS, you have to prove that it is better (for what they are doing) than the free alternative. I would be appalled if apple made Mozilla the default browser for OS X, since your bundled software is supposed to show off the OS. While Mozilla has the best rendering engine around (I always use it to test my web pages first, and then go into other browsers and see what won't work :), even with the recent enhancements to the interface, it has one of the worst attempts at an Aqua UI of any major app on the platform (including Java ones). Change that abomination at the top of my window to an NSToolbar, use Quartz for text, and clean up the default theme (circa Netscape Communicator) and we'd have a good default browser for OS X; if Apple had a sincere desire to do this, they could devote some engineers to working on the Mozilla project. It seems far more likely, however, that Apple would bundle OmniWeb, since they have already started bundling Omni apps with their new machines. If they could just finish the JS and CSS support, OmniWeb could also make a great default browser. Just dump that crap version of IE that hasn't been changed in over a year!

        • My main objection to omniweb is that they have no intention of becoming crossplatform. Sure, in the short term, you'll get your better "UI." But in the long term????

          Besides, why would Apple have to develop the Mozilla UI. Make the deal with Netscape in exchange for having Communicator loaded as the default on OSX.

          • I'm sorry, I don't understand why non-cross-platform-ness is an objection to a web browser. The web is (ideally) platform- and browser-agnostic. Standards exist to ensure this. The browser is "simply" a viewer. What does the Omni Group gain by going cross-platform? How does that benefit the browser? How does it even benefit the user?

            I'll set aside the impracticality/impossibility of making OW cross-platform. It's Cocoa through-and-through.

            But then I almost exclusively use OmniWeb, myself.

            I think that bundling OmniWeb would be a grand idea. Bundling IE with the Mac OS was fine when it was the best browser for the platform (showing off the Mac OS's capabilities), but it isn't and doesn't any more. So step aside.
        • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Friday February 22, 2002 @09:32PM (#3055529)
          "If they could just finish the JS and CSS support, OmniWeb could also make a great default browser."

          I'm sorry, but that ain't going to happen any time soon. OminWeb has some great end-user features, but their HTML engine is essentially roughly at the Netscape 3.0 level. The _only_ thing it has going for it in the page rendering department is the Fuzzy Text. Considering it took Netscape, a much larger company, many years to develop a renderer that meets modern specs, I don't think we will see anything mindblowing out of Omni soon.

          A much more interesting project is Chimera [mozdev.org], which is a Mozilla fork to (really) support Aqua. Personally, I would have liked to see the smart folks at Omni get involved something like this under the NPL, but instead their shareware plans will probably be obliviated.

          (And while all of these browsers are great, I doubt IE is going away anytime soon, because it's defaultness was pretty much the cornerstone of the Apple-MS deal.)
          • I'm sorry, but that ain't going to happen any time soon.

            You haven't used a nightly build any time lately, have you. They are well on the way to both and I would set a target of Q3 or Q4 this year for full CSS support and acceptable scripting support.

            • One of these days I'll get around to trying one of the test builds, although the current release is too painfully slow to use on my poor old PowerBook 333, so it's not a big priority.

              I'm sure they can create a product that does great on the current mostly HTML3.2 WWW -- I just think that it will be difficult to match Mozilla and IE in support for next gen standards.
          • I'm sorry, but that ain't going to happen any time soon. OminWeb has some great end-user features, but their HTML engine is essentially roughly at the Netscape 3.0 level. The _only_ thing it has going for it in the page rendering department is the Fuzzy Text.

            OmniWeb's support of Unicode (thanks to Cocoa) is second to none on the platform; even Mozilla doesn't compete (IE doesn't have it at all). So if you ever use non-Latin languages, you're much better off with OmniWeb. (Actually, they do have a good deal of CSS support, too, though nothing to compete with Mozilla or IE; so I'd say that parts of it are at Netscape 4, parts at Netscape 3, and parts at Netscape 6.5 or higher).

      • As a long term strategy, it's in Apple's best interest to package software which will also run on Linux boxes.

        Actually, it is in Apple's long term interest to have killer apps that people need / crave / really want that do not run on any other platform. This allows them to sell more Macintoshes.

      • Apple buy Corel? Why? WordPerfect hasn't gained any real ground as an application since 8.0; even an old WordPerfect hand like me can't stand using WP10 anymore. It's like using WordStar in 1995.

        And the other Corel applications are all competitors with Adobe, and I don't think Apple wants to push Adobe out of the Mac market (given the importance of Adobe's apps to Mac's core users, graphics pros).
  • open source (Score:3, Insightful)

    by passion (84900) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:48PM (#3052060)

    the other aspect to consider is that Mac OS X is POSIX compliant. Many open source apps can be ported (see the other story posted today). I could see how AbiWord, or many other open source Office apps could kill the need for purchasing M$ products.

    Now we need to get people to start saving as *.rtf instead of *.doc (which works just as well), and we'll have the keys to the kingdom.

    • i'd like to contribute two notes here:
      • my understanding is that *.rtf is owned by microsoft as well...readable by quite a few programs, but still...so is *.doc. and
      • (here's the one i expect to need nomex undies for) i have a ton of open source software running on my macs (plural), but i still have to run office to survive at work.
      i know that many will disagree, and it's a little ugly to say in such a general fashion, but the open source software that people suggest as office replacements is still a little ways from complete enough to actually be those replacements. this is my opinion of course, and i would expect that many will disagree... ;)
    • Apple didn't have a want for office applications a few years ago, and yet it still became dependent on Microsoft Office support to be a viable desktop choice in a business environment, and is rapidly becoming so at home.

      Like it or not, the percentage of documents out there in Microsoft formats is rapidly reaching 100%. This isn't an issue that will just go away if firms or consumers switch office suites. And although we would love to think otherwise, StarOffice's compatibility with Office documents isn't 100%, probably isn't even serviceably good for businesses that want to run smoothly, and is and definitely not serviceably good for the majority of users out there who aren't up to speed with the world of compatibility issues.

      Believe me, if it were otherwise, the college I work at would have switched over by now rather than bow down to a license change in Microsoft Office that just cost us about $50,000.

      The fact of the matter is, even if the documents being produced internally aren't in office format, other firms and people are used to it. There are organizations out there that require all documents sent to them to be in Microsoft Office format. If you send them a *.rtf file, you'll get it sent right back to you. It's foolhardy to think that anyone can budge *.doc files given all the inertia they have developed.

      The fact of the matter is, Apple needs Office about as much (possibly more) as it needs Internet Explorer. If businesses and schools start phasing out their Apple hardware because of office suite incompatibilities, their target market will start getting more and more used to PC's and very well may make their next computer a PC.
      • It's worth noting, I think, that until a couple of releases ago, ClarisWorks/AppleWorks had some of the best file format compatibility around -- you could write to and read from an astonishing variety of formats with great accuracy. They stopped doing that in, IIRC, the last-but-one release of AppleWorks, presumably since at the time they were buddy-buddy with M$ and wanted to encourage everyone to switch to Office. Now ... well, we'll see. I'd be willing to shell out some decent money for a copy of AppleWorks that could read and write Office-and-everything-else documents accurately.
        • As a new Mac user (I got an iBook for Christmas) I can't compare Apple Works' file format compatibility a couple releases ago to the current release. But, the version that came bundled with my iBook can import an impressive number of formats including *.doc and it does it very well.

          When I import it looks like an independent conversion engine is invoked.

          Maybe you should put some sample docs on a floppy (well maybe not on a floppy) and try out the conversion capabilites of the iBook version of Apple Works at your nearby Apple store/CompUSA. I think you might be pleasantly surprized.
          • The .doc translation is actually pretty recent (well at least the ability to read Word97/2k .doc files) and has only been included since AW v6.1. I was sort of disappointed because when I used ClarisWorks way back when it had great Office compatibility and then I bought AW 6.0 and it didn't even support .doc files at all. There's a large number of AW users who are pissed off at Apple because there were so many versions of AW that went by without proper file support for popular formats. If you're a longtime Mac user bragging about you brand spanking new PowerMac and then can't even open a Word document much to your chagrin it is going to leave a bad taste in your mouth.
    • Agreed completely. Instead of relying on being MS equivalent (or at least compatible) why doesn't Apple rely a little more on the UN*X backend of OSX. I've been a PC user for about 10 years, and have grown to hate MS more as time goes by. New things in the news, like the lack of privacy with WMP8, makes me want to leave MS behind permanently. I love linux, and have used it since it's infancy, but still things it lacks some fundamental focus and consistency to be administered on a wide desktop scale. I recently bought an iBook however, after a long and almost obscene obsession with OSX. I had to have it for myself! And now, I must admit that while it is still a young OS, it reminds me of all my favorite times with NeXTSTEP (I still own 3 cubes and a turbo slab). OSX could lead apple in great directions, and I hope the Apple crowd realizes that UN*X ports will be a huge part of this.
    • the other aspect to consider is that Mac OS X is POSIX compliant. Many open source apps can be ported (see the other story posted today). I could see how AbiWord, or many other open source Office apps could kill the need for purchasing M$ products.

      Of course, the POSIX-compliance would be sufficient only if the office apps aren't graphical apps. :-)

      (I.e., there's more to the API used by GUI applications than the "core OS" API. GUI apps from POSIX+X either have to be made to use the native MacOS X GUI APIs, or need to use a toolkit that can hide the native GUI APIs or drawing layer, or need to be run under an X server.

      AbiWord, for example, currently appears to require an X server on MacOS X, according to the AbiWord download page [abiword.org].)

      • Very true, though I did use the word "port" instead of "recompile". I'm not an X hacker, but I would imagine that the APIs for XWindows and Aqua would have similar philosophies. I would assume both would have elements such as "Create_new_window", and "Build_new_menu", and "Get_mouse_click", etc.

        I could see how the event handlers would be rather different, but once 1 or 2 apps are ported, then writing a developer's tutorial on how to port shouldn't be too far behind.

        I'd volunteer to do this myself, but I don't know X nor Aqua, and my work would probably be redundant anyways.

        • Very true, though I did use the word "port" instead of "recompile".

          The port would probably be non-trivial, unless the X applications were written with, say, GNUstep [gnustep.org].

          I'm not an X hacker, but I would imagine that the APIs for XWindows and Aqua would have similar philosophies. I would assume both would have elements such as "Create_new_window", and "Build_new_menu", and "Get_mouse_click", etc.

          I wouldn't necessarily assume that they're similar enough that a port wouldn't require a significant amount of effort.

  • MSN Messenger (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cappadocius (555740)
    Another sign of trouble: MSN Messenger 2.1 has been shipping with Office v. X since November, but only version 2.0 is available for download.

    Who actually still uses MSN messenger? Fire is far superior to any other messenger I have used before.

    • Fire is also buggy as shit and jumps off a virtual cliff at random times because it felt like it for some reason. I've begun to think that Fire's developers were trying write a clone of Lemmings and ended up with an IM client. I know plenty of people who've had to stop using Fire because it couldn't do something as simple as receive a message from an MSN user. If you're going to write a third party client for somebody else's network you should AT LEAST be able to talk with the first party clients on that network. Maybe the next version will kick ass and be the best thing since buttered toast but as for right now, no thank you.
    • If you are thinking that Fire is buggy as hell, then try Proteus. www.indigofield.com thats the client i use now after i got tired of fire. they may still be having some issues, but you can find it somewhere im sure.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have a source that said Word ver. X.5 for OSX is going to be an exact port of Microsoft Word 5.1 (the most popular version on macos). Bill Gates said, "no one is buying office x.. but EVERYONE bought Word 5.x... lets re-ship that! Carbonize it programmer slaves! Carbonize it!" Direct quote mind you.
  • I doubt Microsoft will want to lock themselves into a deal with Apple at this point. However I also can't see them simply walking away from the billions in Office sales and other software and hardware on the Mac. Mac users tend to be more well to do than PC users on average and thus Microsoft knows that we will pay top dollar for their stuff.

    That and they certainly want IE to remain the standard on the Mac. It would be a shame for Microsoft if Apple switched to Omniweb as the standard browser (which IMHO is just as good as IE if not better) :)
  • by OctavianMH (61823) <matthewhensrud&gmail,com> on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:56PM (#3052740)
    Apple doesn't have a hope in the world of getting toeholds in business markets, and even mobile professionals to some point, until there's a functional OSX equivalent to Outlook. Exchange servers are the lifeblood of a great many organizations. And hey, it does a pretty darn good job. Arranging meetings via shared calendars is priceless. IMHO.

    So, in short, Apple needs to bide its time until an Exchange aware PIM is available..via an Entourage upgrade, separate app, whatever!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      There are other (less evil) products that do all the neat stuff that an exchange server does with MUCH less risk of viral infection. Check out FuseMail... not only does it do all the cool stuff mentioned but it does it no matter what mail client you make it talk to AND is web based.

      Also, I think MS Entourage is far better than Outlook. I think it talks to exchange servers too... I dunno though, I dont touch those evil things. :)
    • We use Meetingmaker on the Mac to schedule meetings via shared calenders... and Eudora for mail on OS 9, apple's "mail" for mail on OS X. Works just as good as Outlook without all of the virii and other security holes.
    • Two words:

      Lotus Notes

      Nice server in Domino, secure, fast and if not on NT stays up for quite a while (does very well on W2K tho)

      Further Lotus Notes can do anything Exchange can do and about a million things it can not. Is a Notes developer needed? Well yeah, but I'd rather have that then have to spend 3 days down everytime some kid in Thailand has the day off from school.
      • Two words: Lotus Notes

        Three words: WORST PROGRAM EVER. [iarchitect.com]

        The fact that Notes/Domino is generally perceived as Exchange's primary competition is the reason that Exchange has completely dominated the corporate messaging market despite its many horrible, crippling flaws. Personally, I'd choose either Exchange or a messy suicide over having to use Notes ever again.
        • Ok, ok... 4.6 was... problematic.

          but R5 and Rnext have fixed a number of issues.
          • R5 and Rnext have fixed a number of issues

            I really hope that's shorthand for "completely scrapped the existing interface and rewrote it from scratch." Because that's really just about the only way you could fix it.
    • Outlook 2001 for MacOS runs just fine under Classic in OSX. Sure, it would be nice to have a native Carbon or Cocoa version, but if you've got an overwhelming need to connect to an Exchange server from a Mac, it does the job just fine.
  • The article had a quote from Microsoft's Mac Business Unit that said they thought supporting open standards, like "MP3 or JPG," would solve a lot of problems over time...

    Sounds pretty contradictory to me - it's not as if mp3 and jpg haven't been supported for quite some time now, and if open standards will solve so many problems, then why develop a proprietary media format with digital rights management et. all?

  • by crumbz (41803)
    Does anyone know if OS X is POSIX compliant?
  • by ellem (147712) <[ellem52] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday February 22, 2002 @10:03PM (#3055611) Homepage Journal
    "As soon as we have 'an Office' we'll take over the desktop!"

    As we all know Star Office was not that product.

    OS X has Office. It is vital to keep that product. It is the application that can swing things in a *nix on the desktop way.

    OS X is an excellent platform (I say as I post from my G4 running 10.1.3) and I would be happy to see it gain prominence. I have gotten a few Windows folks to purchase iBooks recently and they have been estatic.

    Word, Excel & PowerPoint no matter how bloated, over accesorized or even potentially dangerous (via macros) are the most important products to move OS X out of the hands of a few weenies and onto the desktops of corporate America.

    That and a really good pr0n viewer.
  • If Microsoft stops writing Office for the Mac, Apple would be forced to find an office suite somewhere else. The likely place would be the Linux community...a port of Star Office for example. The more copies of an alternative suite out there, the worse things are for Office. The ripple effect would make Linux an even greater threat to Microsoft then it already is. Besides, Microsoft still makes a few bucks with office for the Mac. For them to stop offering it would be a lose/lose for them....

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