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Microsoft Businesses Apple

Microsoft Wanted To Drop Mac Office To Hurt Apple 479

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the airing-the-dirty-laundry dept.
Overly Critical Guy writes to mention that more documents in the Iowa antitrust case have come out. This time, it's revealed that Microsoft considered dumping the Mac Office Suite entirely in a move to harm Apple. "The email complains at poor sales of Office, which it attributes to a lack of focus on making such sales among reps at that time. It describes dumping development of the product as: 'The strongest bargaining point we have, as doing so will do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately.' The document also confirms that Microsoft at the time saw Office for the Mac as a chance to test new features in the product before they appeared in Windows, 'because it is so much less critical to our business than Windows.'"
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Microsoft Wanted To Drop Mac Office To Hurt Apple

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:17PM (#18243226) Homepage Journal
    The problem with this is that if nothing else, Microsoft is good at making money and the Microsoft Mac Business unit is quite profitable, with Office as one of their biggest revenue generators. On the other hand, that has never hurt Microsoft when they felt that losses in revenue in one area would be made up for in another area if they cancelled development for a competing platform. Just look to the cancellation of Halo development for Macintosh and Linux after they bought Bungie.

    However, it is an unfortunate reality of the software business, no matter how the consumer may benefit. When it comes down to it, companies are interested in making money and they have to balance the needs and desires of the customer along with their requirements of making mo' and mo' money. Just look to insurance companies, right? They are not in business to provide health care insurance or to cover your medical bills. They are however in business to make money. Don't ever mistake the two or conflate their motives.

    That is not to say that there are not companies that have motivations that are geared towards the consumers of their products. On the contrary, I feel that Apple has done a pretty good job over the years of balancing ethical behavior with making great products that will keep their customers happy, but even they have, on occasion screwed up, sometimes spectacularly.

    I guess the most impressive thing to me about this is the continued flood of documents that have come out of the anti-trust trial that was dumped after the current POTUS entered the White House. These documents show an amazing culture of not just intense competition, but also one of dishonesty, dishonor and patently illegal behavior. I remember the case being dropped, but how could it have gone so wrong and how much more is there to find?

    • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:21PM (#18243266) Journal
      Wait a damned minute. MS does NOT have a patent on illegal behavior.....

      Oh wait, you said 'patently'

      Never mind
    • by truthsearch (249536) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:25PM (#18243326) Homepage Journal
      companies are interested in making money and they have to balance the needs and desires of the customer along with their requirements of making mo' and mo' money.

      But I think the big question is: did Microsoft consider dropping it merely because it wasn't generating enough revenue, or mostly because they wanted to hurt Apple. If the "Microsoft Mac Business unit is quite profitable" as you say, then there seems little reason to drop the product except the hurt Apple. If they're willing to lose profit with the intent of hurting Apple it's possible grounds for a suit by stockholders as it's likely not in the best interests of corporate profits. Plus it would be clear they were intent on hurting a competing platform even if it cost them more money to do so.
      • by powerlord (28156) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:39PM (#18243520) Journal
        Also, if they were trying to hurt Apple for the benefit of their Desktop OS, for which they are convicted monopolists, that might be a bit troubling to the DoJ (assuming it grows a pair), as well as their EU equivalent agencies.
      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:44PM (#18243574) Homepage Journal

        If they're willing to lose profit with the intent of hurting Apple it's possible grounds for a suit by stockholders as it's likely not in the best interests of corporate profits.

        The only people it might not be in the best interest of would be day traders, and even they will benefit if they sell short. See, if Microsoft could crush Apple, then they would have an even stronger hold on the market, an even stronger monopoly position, and they would get even more for their bribe money to whoever received it that immediately pulled the DOJ dogs off of Microsoft after they had been convicted of abusing their monopoly position.

        Well, and it wouldn't be in the interest of Apple users either, but by then they would have lost their voices entirely so they would be quite irrelevant :)

        • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Monday March 05, 2007 @07:53PM (#18244340)

          they would get even more for their bribe money to whoever received it that immediately pulled the DOJ dogs off of Microsoft after they had been convicted of abusing their monopoly position.
          I imagine the proceedings went something like this:

          "Due to the severe and heinous nature of your crime, you, Microsoft of Redmond, Washington, are--"

          "Recognized for selfless love and devotion to His Shadow."

          "Of 26 Counts of Monopolistic--, -s of Monopolistic--, -s of Monopolistic--"

          "You, Microsoft of Redmond, Washington--"

          "You are hereby given an Award of Merit!"
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by soft_guy (534437)
        Office for Mac wasn't making that much money at the time because the version of it that was out pretty much sucked. For the first time ever, Word for Mac was not the best selling word processor for Mac - NissusWriter had overtaken it.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday March 05, 2007 @08:38PM (#18244834) Homepage Journal
        I think this problem is symbolic of much larger one in which entire industries are out to "hurt" their competitors, but also their very customers. Look at the way the computer industry, the telecom industry and the entertainment/industrial complex has worked to limit our choices, roll back our access to new technologies, and lock us in to carefully controlled uses of their products. Equipment is hamstrung, demand is ignored, products are made less friendly to the user but more friendly to the profit margins. While trumpeting technological advances, they ship products that don't work or don't work well. There is outright hostility to those of us who are the ones pumping money into these industries. The entire model of supply and demand/free market is turned on its head and WE become the consumables.

        I don't want to make too big a jump here for those of you who are happy as clams as long as you can go to the best buy and get a 52" something that sets you back a month's pay, just to find that it can't do the things you really want it to do because those features are "just around the corner". The next release, the coming upgrade, THAT's the one you really want. But this fundamental change in the flow of power from the consumer to industry is being mirrored in the realm of public life. Politics are no longer about us. Elections are held but voters are optional. With all the things happening in the world, all the stories that could be told, every single media outlet has the same half-dozen stories on the front page. I used to wonder why some insignificant event would suddenly show up as the most important story in every single newspaper and news show. Now it becomes clear: as long as there's something to show us, it doesn't matter if it's the things that matter. As long as we watch. As long as we consume, as long as we pay, and most important, as long as we get up to go to work tomorrow so we can keep making those credit card payments.

        I'm sorry that I'm making these big jumps from this rather unsurprising story about one company doing something to hurt another. The thing is: I just don't believe it. Microsoft, Apple, how different are they really? Smart people have epic battles in these pages arguing the benefits of one platform over another as if it somehow matters, or if one will somehow defeat the other. To them, it's all good as long as we keep upgrading, keep paying, keep working. We have become the consumables.

        Now go read another story and let me finish my drink in peace. Tomorrow's another working day.
        • Slashdotters hate being told that what they're discussing isn't important, even though that is the case with petty OS arguments. A mere discussion of operating systems somehow snowballs into a discussion of politics and religion that has very little bearing on reality. The personal anecdote is respected almost as factual content. This behavior is exemplified by the two replies you've gotten that say, "hey lighten up!"

          Parent is absolutely right: there's a whole world out there with REAL problems that need to
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CokoBWare (584686)
        The same could be said of Apple in relation to iTunes and Windows Vista... Apple had AMPLE time to review and build in a fix for iTunes so that it wouldn't nuke iPods when used with Windows Vista, but it didn't. It said "we're still working on it", creating FUD with Windows Vista, and basically doing what Microsoft is accused of saying in a document (not like it actually did anything at all with Mac Office). I'm not defending anyone... just trying to put things back into perspective.
    • The problem with this is that if nothing else, Microsoft is good at making money and the Microsoft Mac Business unit is quite profitable, with Office as one of their biggest revenue generators.

      Thats true today 2007, not when the memo was written in 1997.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GregPK (991973)
      Think of what would have happened had microsoft cut funding for the mac office? Most likely Apple would have made thier own version of office probably heavily embracing Wordperfect. Thus, creating an entire market outside of MSFT control and what if Wordperfect got a good foothold in the mac side then you'd see many clients having to support it on the PC side as well thus increasing the market on PC side. Thats the side that was thought out in the boardroom, coffeetable discussions that we never hear abo
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:38PM (#18243510)
      "they have to balance the needs and desires of the customer" a customer is only important if they make you money. Charity cases, or very marginalised businesses, are not important. In reality a profit-seeking company balances the needs of the customer against the company's need for the customer. If MS no longer needs the Mac customers then they will no longer care what the Mac customers want.

      This is nothing new. Almost 10 years ago MS was going to completely step away and that would have killed Apple, but they didn't: http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,1101970818 ,00.html [time.com] . In many ways, MS has given Apple ten years to get its shit together from a MS perspective (ie. be a worthwhile platform for MS to support) but has this really happened?

      • by BWJones (18351) * on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:44PM (#18243572) Homepage Journal
        In many ways, MS has given Apple ten years to get its shit together from a MS perspective (ie. be a worthwhile platform for MS to support) but has this really happened?

        The reality of that little ten year waiting period descended from MS being caught red-handed with their hand in the Quicktime cookie jar codebase. The outcome of that was that MS agreed to a public endorsement of the Macintosh platform, a $150 million dollar investment in Apple (non-voting stock), an agreement to continue producing Office for the Mac and to share certain codebases. It will be interesting to see what Apple got out of the codebase sharing agreement in the next month or two...

        • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Monday March 05, 2007 @08:36PM (#18244806)

          The reality of that little ten year waiting period descended from MS being caught red-handed with their hand in the Quicktime cookie jar codebase.

          Of course, the frequently unreported facts accompanying this assertion is that said code actually came to Microsoft from Intel, after Intel acquired it from another company that had previously worked on porting Quicktime to Windows for Apple.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @09:19PM (#18245250)
            You seem to be forgetting that for years before the settlement both Microsoft and Intel had been working together on Video for Windows.

            Microsoft and Intel hooked up back in the days before QuickTime for Windows was released. Their goal was to make VfW the equal in performance to QuickTime on MacOS (MacOS was just called Macintosh System 7 back then). After QuickTime for Windows was released, this partnership changed it's focus, to one-up Apple's Windows product. They toiled away for years but were always one step behind.

            Microsoft AND Intel then hired the third party that Apple had contracted the initial QuickTime for Windows development to. The third party still had access to all the code that they wrote for Apple. Microsoft AND Intel managers explicitly told the developer to reuse that code in their contracted update to Video for Windows. And the developer, seeing all the money being waved under it's nose, did just that.

            This explicit direction to the third party is why Microsoft saw the writing on the wall in the QuickTime lawsuit and did such a public about-face.

            Ultimately, Microsoft has made a profit, even given the "undisclosed" settlement that was paid to Apple at the same time (by all reasonable accounts this settlement extended to 7 figures). Microsoft bought Apple stock shortly before it skyrocketed in value, and sold it all off for over 20 times the price originally paid. Microsoft's Mac division has always turned a profit, even in the darkest days of the "shared code" nightmare known as Word 6, so they've made money simply selling their software too. Mac users are notoriously better about paying for their software than Windows users.
    • Just look to the cancellation of Halo development for Macintosh and Linux after they bought Bungie.
      Halo development for Macintosh was not canceled when Microsoft bought Bungie. Halo was released for the Mac in December, 2003. I don't believe a Linux version was ever being developed by Bungie.
      • by BWJones (18351) * on Monday March 05, 2007 @07:02PM (#18243802) Homepage Journal
        Halo development for Macintosh was not canceled when Microsoft bought Bungie.

        Yes, it was.

        Halo was released for the Mac in December, 2003.

        True, and in fact, I worked as an alpha and beta tester for the company that did the port (look for my name in the credits). The important thing to note is that MS *did* cancel all development for the platform and decided at a later date to allow the existing code to be brought to the Macintosh through a third party developer who did all the work required.

        I don't believe a Linux version was ever being developed by Bungie.

        To my peripheral knowledge, there were active efforts at Bungie to bring a number of their titles to Linux and Halo was one of them.

  • Harm Apple? (Score:5, Funny)

    by basic0 (182925) <.mmccollow. .at. .yahoo.ca.> on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:20PM (#18243262)
    If they really wanted to harm Apple and it's users, they'd port Clippy to Office:Mac and enable it by default.
    • by necro81 (917438) on Monday March 05, 2007 @07:17PM (#18243992) Journal
      Actually, they did have something similar - a little animated assistant named Max. It looked like a Macintosh Plus [wikipedia.org] with Mickey Mouse feet [ferrucci.com]. Instead of snide facial expressions (a la Clippy), it would be stupid expressions on the animated Mac's screen, with the disk slot for a mouth. If you didn't ask it a question for a while, it would start doing attention-getting things like transforming itself (Rubik's cube style) or rocking back and forth on its feet. The best was that when you finally told the little shit to go away, it would have a waving hand flash on its screen.

      I swear that in the animation of the waving hand Icould see it giving me the finger.
  • That's why kids... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yuioup (452151)
    That's why kids... we have Open Source projects like Linux and Open Office.

    Y
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:28PM (#18243376)
      I know it's popular around here to think that OpenOffice is a viable replacement for MSOffice, but I'm sorry to say, whoever worked with both know it isn't. OOo is *almost* there, but not enough there that it can take on MSOffice. For example, Impress (the OOo Powerpoint) sucks ass in terms of speed. OOo font management can be erratic between OS platforms, and quite frankly, the entire OOo suite is a big slow infinitely deep rat's nest of ultra-slow ram-hungry object-oriented code.

      So no, OOo won't replace MSOffice quite yet. Which incidentally is why I think MS is pulling the plug on the Mac Office suite: they do it while there's still time, before OOo gets good enough that Mac users would just say "good riddance" to MS. Right now, they can't, so MS plays its card.
      • I know it's popular around here to think that OpenOffice is a viable replacement for MSOffice, but I'm sorry to say, whoever worked with both know it isn't.

        Ok, I've worked with both for years and know it's a viable replacement, at least for Word and Excel.

        OOo font management can be erratic between OS platforms

        I use NeoOffice on the Mac, which supports native fonts, and have no problems at all. And I trade documents and spreadsheets mostly with Windows users.

        the entire OOo suite is a big slow infinitely dee
        • the entire OOo suite is a big slow infinitely deep rat's nest of ultra-slow ram-hungry object-oriented code.

          On the Mac Microsoft Office is no faster than NeoOffice. Both sets of software are big and slow.
          But only one is a Universal app...
      • by antirelic (1030688) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:46PM (#18243610) Journal
        I didnt realise MS office was the symbol of efficiency and effectiveness. To say that OO sucks because you dont like a few pieces of its "package" is like me saying the same for M$ office. I think only a retard would use MS Access database. That doesnt mean that it "sucks", thats just my opinion. Open Office is FREE, uses OPEN STANDARDS that dont LOCK YOU IN just in case your favorite vendor decides to DROP SUPPORT for your Operating system just to be a dickhead. Perhaps you missed the whole point of TFA and should read it again and then maybe you'll understand why people say OO is better than MS Office....
      • I find Writer to infinitely superior to MS Word, but Calc is a little lacking compared to Excel. Impress is on par with Powerpoint. I prefer OO over MSO simply for Writer, since documents and spreadsheets are 90% of the 'office' files I deal with, and I can cope with the shortcomings of Calc.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mollymoo (202721)

        Which incidentally is why I think MS is pulling the plug on the Mac Office suite: they do it while there's still time, before OOo gets good enough that Mac users would just say "good riddance" to MS. Right now, they can't, so MS plays its card.

        Who sayd MS is pulling the plug on Mac Office? If you read TFA, you'd note the memo in question was a decade old.

        I think the only reason they keep Mac Office going now is to keep the monopoly-abuse people happy. Perhaps Microsoft trying to gain standardisation f

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AusIV (950840)
        Personally, I think OpenOffice is good enough to replace MS Office for 90% of users. I find it to be faster and more stable than MS Office, though I must admit the last version of MS office I used before switching to OpenOffice was Office XP.

        If MS dropped Mac Office support, Apple would likely do everything they could to maintain their ground, and rather than reinvent the wheel, it would make sense to throw their support to OpenOffice development. It could quickly become superior to MS Office across the bo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RogerWilco (99615)
        If I compare the current Open Office with MS Office, I find that Impress, Writer and Calc are sufficiently good to replace the MS offerings. I still prefer WordPerfect as a document editor, but find Impress and Calc adequate to replace PowerPoint and Excell anc certainly much better as Presentations or Quatro Pro.

        BUT, this is irrelevant.

        The major selling point of MS Office is: Outlook + Exchange.

        I have used Novell Groupwise on Linux and it can't hold a canlde to it. I do not know about Lotus Notes, but seem
        • Exchange (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sparkz (146432)
          You do have a very good point there. MS Exchange is a "killer app", not because it's good, but because if it's deployed once, it has to be deployed everywhere to be useful. So if a corp decides on MS Exchange, it needs to use MS Outlook, therefore it needs to use MS Windows.

          I know that Hydrogen et al have done what thay can, but (forgive me, I've not been watching lately), have they got 100% compatibility?

          I now get Outlook meeting appointments from third parties, requiring MS Exchange/Outlook all round. But
      • documents were created with typewriters or written by hand. Then Wordstar happened. No-one gave a shit about layout and preservation of fonts when converting to/from WordPerfect. It was good enough if the text contents got transferred during a transfer. It still applies today. The fact is that the exact layout and preservation thereof during a transfer is nice to have, but not essential.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nine-times (778537)
      Or, relevant to the topic of Macintoshes, NeoOffice [neooffice.org]. I'm not in any way associated with the project, but I always like to bring it into discussions of Macs and office suites. They're doing a great job porting OpenOffice to OSX, a job that the OpenOffice people seem unwilling to do, and I hope they get the suppor they need.
    • by solitas (916005)
      I still find Appleworks v6.2.2 suits most of my needs - it runs fine on OS 10.4.7 (and the installer CD has the windows version on it too).

      Still runs, still enough features, you have to really try to abuse it HARD to make it crash.
  • by igotmybfg (525391) <slashdot@nosPam.danielthompson.net> on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:24PM (#18243302) Homepage
    Why wouldn't they want to harm Apple? They're competitors! Why is this news?
    • by cowscows (103644)
      It's news because it's more evidence of the monopoly abuse that MS was obviously guilty of. Although the current administration in the US has basically given MS a free pass, Europe is at least trying to hold them accountable for the damage they've done to the computing industry. Even with all the evidence against them, MS continues to whine and appeal and pretend like they're victims in all of this. Every time some more solid info comes out proving their intentions, their complaining becomes more tiresome,
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by igotmybfg (525391)
        Disclaimer: I'm not trying to be argumentative, and I'm no Microsoft fanboy (I've been running Linux at home for about 6 years now).

        I don't understand how your point is relevant. If you were in business, would you want to help your competitor? What we are talking about is Microsoft withdrawing a product from the marketplace. How does withdrawing a product from the marketplace constitute monopoly abuse?

  • by russ1337 (938915) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:26PM (#18243338)
    Dropping MS office for the Mac could hurt MS Office for the PC long term - Why?

    Apple might consider including OpenOffice.Org then advertising it:

    Mac: Hi, I'm a Mac,
    PC: and I'm a PC
    PC: So what is that your doing
    Mac: Oh, just some office stuff, you know, spreadsheets, documents, presentations
    PC: I can do those too
    Mac: Yeah, but I don't use your monopoly expensive as shit software, I use this free one which is actually better. It doesnt try to format shit I don't want. Oh, and it's free and works on a PC too. You should try it.
    PC: Hey you're right! This OpenOffice.org is the shnizzer! All the PC users should download it from www.openoffice.org right now!
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Including OpenOffice would do more to hurt Apple than Microsoft's cancelling of MS Office. OpenOffice on Mac sucks, sucks real bad.
    • by Foerstner (931398) on Monday March 05, 2007 @07:13PM (#18243938)
      Mac: Hi, I'm a Mac...

      PC: and I'm a PC.

      PC2: and I'm another PC

      PC3: and I'm another PC ... (Repeat 17 more times)

      Mac: So what are you guys working on?

      PC: We're working on this year's budget. We need the numbers for your department.

      Mac: Okay, send it over.

      (Pause)

      Mac: Here you go.

      (Pause)

      PC 6: What's wrong with this file?

      PC 11: I don't know, it's formatted all wrong.

      PC 8: I'll bet it's Mac's fault. Hey, Mac?

      Mac: It looks fine to me...

      PC 3: Mac, look, you're a cool guy and we really like you, but you can't just go off and mess up a document like that!

      Mac: But...but...it looks fine in OO.o!

      PC 19: Oh oh oh? Listen, I don't have time to play games, I need your numbers in that file without any screwing around!
  • Tell me it ain't so Stevie!

    (Ducking out to dodge the thrown chair )

  • Timeline 1997 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dafz1 (604262) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:27PM (#18243358)
    February 7, 1997 - Steve Jobs returns to Apple

    June 27, 1997 - Bill Gates sends email explaining threats made to Apple of pulling the plug on Office for Mac.

    August 6, 1997 - Apple and Microsoft announce $150 investment of Microsoft in Apple.

    What happened between June 27 and August 6?
  • Email Communications (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Swanktastic (109747) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:27PM (#18243364)
    Of course they found emails saying this. It's blatantly obvious to any armchair strategist. The only way you wouldn't find an email somewhere in the MS vault saying something anti-competitive is if the entire organization had been coached not to use this type of language. In fact, this is how corporate America operates today. Employees at market leader companies are specifically taught not to use phrases like crush, damage, etc when refering to the competition in electronic communications. It's perfectly fine to advocate these types of tactics in verbal communications, though.

    Everyone these days knows enough not to say anything incriminating in emails, but rather to save it for face-to-face meetings.
    • by PsychicX (866028) on Monday March 05, 2007 @07:16PM (#18243968)
      The thing is, the e-mail doesn't say what the (quite obviously biased) macworld claims it says. That's the beauty of selective quoting. Reading the rest of the message gives a somewhat different perspective.

      The pace of our discussions with Apple as well as their recent unsatisfactory response have certainly frustrated a tot of people at Microsoft. The threat to Cancel Mac Office 97 is certainly the strongest bar9aining pointwe have, as doing so wil do a great deal of harm to Apple immedIately. I also believe that Apple is taking this threat pretty seriously, and at least someone there seems to want to move forward (when I discussed the Issue wfth Jim Gable, an Apple marketing VPwho visited MS today, he seemed very cortcamed aboutgetting more details on our specificobjections to their latest proposal; also, we received mail today from Apple's evangelism group asking for details on the Office Early Mopter Program, saying that exec mgmt had instructed them to get these detaIls (participating in this program was one of the minor issues in the discussions)). Regardless of the outcome of these discussions, though, I believe weshould ship Mac Office 97 Furfhermore, I believe we need to decide this immediately - our indecision so far has caused quite a bit of harm, and this will become farworse very shortly, as we are not only close to shipping code externally, but need to finally start press and customer communications, especially with MacWorld a month away.
      Later on in the email, we see some perspective on what exactly the "testing features" were:

      Because Mac Office Is so much less critical to our business than windows, we have the flexibility to test out new things in the product and in its marketing before we try them~onWindows. Setup-less install, for example, is one thing we'll do on the Mac first.

      The point being that the picture is more complicated. The full email describes in some detail why Mac Office should continue to be supported, despite its low profitability at the time. The linked Macworld article hides all of that and pretends that this was an attack on Apple. It wasn't. This is why you should always try to go to the original source, not someone else's agenda based report of it.
  • Apple commercials (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phasm42 (588479) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:28PM (#18243368)
    Apple creates commercials that portray the Mac as a jeans-clad hipster and a Windows PCs as a balding lame-o in a suit. They believe it will harm Microsoft. News at 11.
    • by Khomar (529552) on Monday March 05, 2007 @07:24PM (#18244078) Journal

      The problem here is not just that Microsoft was talking about doing something to hurt the market share of another company, but rather that the method they were looking to use was of a monopolistic nature. By cutting out Microsoft Office from Apple, they would hurt the Microsoft Office division but would help the Microsoft Windows division. Basically, by a single company owning the overwhelmingly dominant office suite and operating system, they had the ability to destroy competition. Consider, for example, that Microsoft was divided into two (or more) distinctive companies: one that developed the operating system and related development tools and one that developed Microsoft Office products. In this scenario, Microsoft Office would continue to support Apple due to the revenue stream. The Microsoft Windows company would be required to compete on an equal footing against the Mac OS and any other operating system.

      This is not to say that this is complete monopoly. Linux does not have Microsoft Office, but they are able to compete with Open Office. However, it is an example of how Microsoft's position in multiple sectors can be combined to give them an unfair advantage. It is almost like the phone company also owning the electricity companies. "Sure you can use our competitor's phone service, but then you won't get any power." Some choice. (Of course, phone companies are their own form of evil monopoly [pollyticks.com], but that is another story.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      A Mac commercial doesn't hurt Windows users. Cutting off Mac Office would serve to hurt Mac Office users--Microsoft's own customers.
  • by mekkab (133181) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:28PM (#18243370) Homepage Journal
    Given the flakiness of connecting Entourage to an Exchange server, where I could get all my e-mails but not send anything (?!) I just stopped trying.

    Having half-working software is far worse than none at all.

  • Logic (software) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Peter Trepan (572016) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:28PM (#18243372)
    Apple did the same thing when it bought Emagic, cancelling development of the Logic digital audio workstation for Windows. This is exactly the sort of thing that makes me want to switch to Linux's free alternatives, even when they're less user-friendly.
    • by cowscows (103644)
      It's not really the same thing, because Apple wasn't using one product(Logic)to try and kill an only tangentially related competitor's project. Whether Apple was just trying to sell more macs or avoid having to maintain multiple versions of the software (it was probably a mix of both factors), I don't think you can reasonably argue that Apple stopped developing Logic for windows in order to drive Windows under.

      If the Mac version of Office ceased to exist, it would have a significant effect on the viability
  • Way old news (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dekortage (697532) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:29PM (#18243384) Homepage

    It's been rumored for years that Microsoft was going to dump the Mac version of office. When MS bought out Connectix, thus acquiring the Virtual PC line of products, I remember seeing alleged quotes from Bill Gates that MS was going to stop Mac Office development and just ship VPC with a Windows version of Office.

    Ironically, Microsoft Excel was released for the Mac in 1985 [wikipedia.org] and didn't arrive on Windows until 1987, while PowerPoint was first released on the Mac in 1987 [wikipedia.org] and not released for Windows until 1990. (Admittedly, PPT was originally developed by another company and then purchased by MS.)

  • Not a monopoly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iPaul (559200) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:39PM (#18243526) Homepage
    This is exactly the kind of anti-competative behavior that monopolies engage in.
  • by andrewa (18630) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:43PM (#18243552)
    To be honest, I use my MS OFfice installation on my Parallels instance, as it's much faster and usable than the Mac Office 2004. I'm planning to give Office 2008 (which should be universal) a bit of a look, and approach that with an open mind, but for now I'm happier with using the Windows version under my VM.
  • Yes, it would hurt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chrysalis (50680) on Monday March 05, 2007 @06:51PM (#18243670) Homepage
    Ouch!

    Yes, it would definitely hurt Apple sales.

    Of course, there is software like NeoOffice, Pages and Keynote.
    But people *want* MS Office, and in corporate environments, people *need* MS Office.

    The OSX Version of MS Office is still not 100% compatible with the Windows version, but it's still better than NeoOffice.

    And "MS Office runs on OSX" is a strong selling point. People familiar with Windows and Office are thinking "cool, Office runs on OSX, I won't feel lost if I ever switch to OSX".

  • It would simply give apple one less competitor for appleworks [apple.com] and iWork [apple.com]
    Also give Apple ports of OOo higher popularity...
  • No Surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by calstars (562543) on Monday March 05, 2007 @07:09PM (#18243900)
    This shouldn't be surprising to anyone who follows Microsoft and Apple. Of course MS 'considered' it; not to do so would show a remarkable lack of long-term strategy thought at high levels of the company. Unless they actually do remove Office for the Mac, there's no story here.
  • Please do, and soon! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Monday March 05, 2007 @07:12PM (#18243932)
    The day that Office for Mac gets killed will be the day that iWork gets released as a complete, full-featured, Office-killer suite. We know that Apple has a spreadsheet app waiting to be released. It is inconceivable that they would not have the rest of the suite at least in closed beta. I, for one, would love it if Apple would go ahead and release that suite soon.

    That said, killing Office for Mac would cause microsoft to lose those profits, and probably lead to more people switching to Apple. Microsoft knows that Apple can make a slick GUI for almost anything, and they know that their Office GUI is anything but slick. That's why there was all the crap about the ribbon. They don't want to incite Apple to do anything smart, like releasing a better product than MS Office.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ash-Fox (726320)

      The day that Office for Mac gets killed will be the day that iWork gets released as a complete, full-featured, Office-killer suite.

      Which will be the day many corporations, universities, people will stop considering Mac.

      That said, killing Office for Mac would cause microsoft to lose those profits, and probably lead to more people switching to Apple.

      I doubt it.

      Microsoft knows that Apple can make a slick GUI for almost anything, and they know that their Office GUI is anything but slick.

      Because Microsoft obviou

  • Well la de da! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Monday March 05, 2007 @07:57PM (#18244380) Homepage Journal
    You'd think that, over the years, that Apple would have created their own version of Office software that works with MS-Office file formats like OpenOffice.org [openoffice.org] did? Or at least work with OpenOffice.Org to bundle OOO with OSX instead of MS-Office and break that stranglehold Microsoft has on Macintosh users forcing them to use MS-Office for Macintosh?

    Odd, Microsoft does not make MS-Office for Linux, *BSD Unix, Solaris, and other operating systems and it does not even seem to harm them and their marketshare keeps increasing anyway. I highly doubt that dropping MS-Office for the Macintosh would harm Apple, it would more likely harm Microsoft because Microsoft just cut out a lot of profits from the sales of MS-Office for the Macintosh.

    Logically it would make good business sense for Microsoft to make MS-Office for other platforms as well, which would increase their profits.
  • by proberts (9821) on Monday March 05, 2007 @08:22PM (#18244668) Homepage
    ...isn't Word/Excel/Powerpoint- NeoOffice works fine for those, it's Entourage- in an Exchange business environment, that's a key item and mail.app doesn't cut it.

    Paul
  • just a thought (Score:5, Interesting)

    by General Lee's Peking (954826) on Monday March 05, 2007 @08:49PM (#18244942)
    If Steve Jobs had a secret Intel port of Mac OS X going on for years, is it so hard to imagine that he might have a secret office suite project going on in case Microsoft dumps Apple? The only reason he wouldn't release it would be because Microsoft's support for Apple is good for sales and Apple's own office suite would be for a ``use only in case of emergency'' scenario. I mean, even if it were vastly superior to Microsoft Office, it would be a hard sell.
  • no big deal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oohshiny (998054) on Monday March 05, 2007 @08:52PM (#18244978)
    I think there are many things I'd fault Microsoft for, but dropping Office for Macintosh isn't one of them. The problem with Office is its proprietary and closed formats, and those don't get fixed by having a Mac version.

    While Apple fans like to talk about Apple vs. Microsoft, Apple's actions suggest that they would really simply like to be part of a cozy little duopoly with Microsoft.

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