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Microsoft Businesses Apple

Microsoft's Mac Business Unit 460

An anonymous reader writes "Today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an interesting piece on the folks who work at the Mac Business Unit for Microsoft."
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Microsoft's Mac Business Unit

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  • wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by andih8u ( 639841 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:22PM (#8140917)
    They make software for macs and have a mac business unit. I hope someone can get some shots of macs being unloaded from a truck.
  • by trolman ( 648780 ) * on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:22PM (#8140922) Journal
    "Far from it. But as one observer put it, it's as if they were working for a division of General Motors making parts for Volkswagens." I predict that this will be repeated when Linux is mainstream on the desktop.
    • Talking of Linux, I read

      Microsoft, for example, was one of the first major software developers to support Apple's Mac OS X, moving quickly to release a version of Mac Office when OS X was still new
      and wondered if Microsoft were thinking of another *nix system...
    • Hmm. Clever. That's vacuously true.
    • Would you venture to affix a year to this prediction? Which year do you think Microsoft will open the Linux Business Unit?

      I'd say, 2006.

      Post reply with your prediction!

      • I predict that they will open the Linux BU 2 years after Linux has made Microsoft totally irrelevent.
      • Which year do you think Microsoft will open the Linux Business Unit?

        That will happen if they ever figure out a way they can buy Linux. Short of Linus and a bunch of other copyright holders losing their minds, I don't see that happening.

        Seriously, why would they even attempt to write software for Linux? Most Linux users (at least on /. anyway) are pretty hostile to Microsoft. It would be kind of like trying to sell cigarettes to the American Cancer Society.

    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:53PM (#8141138)
      The only problem is that that statement belies a complete ignorance of the economics and corporate ties of the auto industry.

      GM, Ford, Volkswagon, Honda, Toyota, etc, all make parts for "competitors."

      It's called doing business and making a profit. What does GM care if the motor they're making money on has someone elses label on the hood?

      What does Microsoft care if office is running on a Mac as long as they get the same cut they would if it were running under Windows?

      Either way they derive profit, market share and mind share.

      • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @10:19PM (#8141269) Homepage Journal
        I think you've overlooked some details yourself. Software and car parts are completely different, technologically, socially, and economically. Anybody with the right facilities and access to the specs can make an alternator that's compatible with a GM alternator. It's a lot harder to engineer a word processor that's totally compatible with Microsoft Word. So GM doesn't own the market on GM-compatible alternators, whereas Microsoft totally owns the market Word compatible word processors.

        Since most big companies won't even consider buying a computer that doesn't run Office, Microsoft greatly extends the potential customer base for Macs. Of course they lose a few sales for Windows XP in the process. But given the relative market share of Windows and Mac, they probably don't lose much sleep over this.

        If it were just a matter of getting Office on as many desktops as possible, there would have been a Linux port long ago. But unlike MacOS, Linux is a threat to Windows' dominance.

        • Anybody with ... access to the specs

          Ah, there's the rub, isn't it? The specs for a GM compatible alternator are available. The spec for Word .DOC format isn't.
          • Not true, actually. You can license it, and a lot of people have done a good job of reverse-engineering it. What's undocumented -- and impossible to reproduce -- is all the subtle ways that Word uses that format.
      • A little bit of a misunderstanding here.

        Automobile manufacturers do not make parts for 'competitors', i.e, GM doesn't make parts for Ford. Ford makes parts for all of their Marques, and Chevrolet makes parts for all of THEIR marques, etc.

        The reason it matters if a Chevrolet engine is in another car with someone else's label is that Chevy spends literally hundreds of millions of dollars per year making sure that you know that Chevy is "The Heartbeat of America", and Ford spends an equivalently large sum of

      • What does Microsoft care if office is running on a Mac as long as they get the same cut they would if it were running under Windows?

        I don't know if this is still the case, but for a time, the official reason that they kept Office running on Macs was because of antitrust concerns.

    • The difference here is that Microsoft made MacIntosh software before Windows was dominant, if not before Windows existed. That's not the case with Linux.

      I doubt if Mac came along after Windows if Microsoft would have made software for it. Although they do make a profit on it, it is insigificant compared to Office/Windows.
  • ..they recounted with pride such tales as the colleague who broke up with a girlfriend who bought a Windows PC.

    that guy definitely does not read /.

    well, maybe he does now
  • analogy (Score:5, Funny)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <> on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:23PM (#8140928) Homepage
    The best analogy I can come up with is...

    Microsoft's muscular Herculean right arm has no idea what its tiny, flubbering nub of a left hand is doing.

    Now imagining this congealing beast of a company with the head of Steve Ballmer gives me an interesting image. Kind of like the Trapper Keeper blob from South Park.

    • Microsoft's muscular Herculean right arm has no idea what its tiny, flubbering nub of a left hand is doing.

      Now imagining this congealing beast of a company with the head of Steve Ballmer gives me an interesting image. Kind of like the Trapper Keeper blob from South Park.

      Actually I think he would look more like this guy. []
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:25PM (#8140942) Homepage
    I witnessed the MBU's section of Job's keynote speech this year. You can too [], should you have both Quicktime and be a masochist.

    How shall we put this? Their spokesperson could do with just a tad more charisma. Or to be rather more honest, several swimming pools' worth of extra charisma...


    • To be fair to them, they didn't have much to present. Wow, Excel is finally going to be reasonable at printing, and you can record audio and stick it in a text file. The muted response from the crowd was hilarious, though... most people were probably sitting there thinking "why isn't Apple sending an in-house development team to"

      At least installing MSOffice on the Mac is dead-simple, they got that right.
      • by Unregistered ( 584479 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:37PM (#8141038)
        My guess is that the guys at Apple think office:mac is good enough for now and they would rather spend their money replacing shitty software (IE) and working on crazy new things for iLife (like GarageBand). I'm sure eventually appleworks will become a version of, but its not as big a priority as things that would make people actually switch to the mac. Also, they might be waiting for the OSS community to port to the aqua interface instead of spending valuable dev time on stuff that will eventually be done anyway.

        For the record i use on a mac and it does a damn good job, imo.
      • Not bloatware! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by benwaggoner ( 513209 ) <ben DOT waggoner AT microsoft DOT com> on Friday January 30, 2004 @11:42PM (#8141735) Homepage
        Given all the times /.'ers complain about Microsoft doing bloatware, you'd think there would be some thanks for doing a new version that's snappier, up to date, but doesn't go overboard on new features.

        I easily spend 1000+ hours a year in Office v.X, and I'm really looking forward to the new version. It's darn complete - there really weren't that many holes, and it looks like they're filling most of them.
  • by atari2600 ( 545988 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:27PM (#8140955)
    But the people in the Mac BU take noticeable pride in Office for Mac as a product in its own right, not merely a translation of Windows Office to the Mac operating system. Office 2004 for Mac, for example, includes a number of features not available in the Windows version of Office, such as a "project center" in the Entourage e-mail program that lets users manage in one place a project that involves different types of files.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Would have been better if they'd said something like "And Internet Explorer 5 for the Mac, a project long abandoned by Microsoft, still surpasses Internet Explorer 6 for Windows on many web standards."

      Microsoft does make good software. They just don't make it for Windows ;)
  • from the oil-and-water dept

    More like "from the bread-and-butter-dept". Microsoft's Macintosh division is one of its most profitable, and a profit-making division at Microsoft is getting be something of a rarity what with the company loosing money through the nose in countless divisions. In fact, I believe there's only one division more profitable- the OS division.

    That's one of the reasons for the symbolic deal a few years back where MS bought $150M in Apple stock(by the way, that's not even a fraction

    • by -tji ( 139690 )
      It may be profitable, because they have very low marketing expenses for Mac products (do they market them at all?).

      But, I'm sure it's a rounding error in the revenue picture. In that realm, MS is dominated by the OS and Office money manking monopolies.


      That's doubtful.. The OS and Office divisions are the cash cows for Microsoft. There is no way the Mac group is more profitable than the Office group.

      More like "from the bread-and-butter-dept". Microsoft's Macintosh division is one of its most pr
      • Most people who buy Microsoft Office for Windows buy it at a significantly reduced hardware bundle rate, whereas Microsoft offers no such deals for Mac users. All Mac users must pay full retail sticker for MS Office.

        Just another way that MS discriminates against the Mac.
        • Re:also because... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          People get those rates because of deals that companies like Dell, HP, etc. negotiated with Microsoft. I am sure Apple could negotiate a similar deal. I would also point out that most people who buy Office for Windows buy in bulk. There are for more corporate users than home users. Full Office is pretty much a waste for most home users that don't use their computer for business. I can't remember the last time my Aunt Myrtle put together a PowerPoint presentation.

          I also see no reason why they shouldn't
          • Re:also because... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @11:09PM (#8141551)
            People get those rates because of deals that companies like Dell, HP, etc. negotiated with Microsoft.

            No, they get those hardware bundle rates because Microsoft offers them for Windows systems. You can get it, too, just go up on PriceWatch [] and see how cheap you can get Office 2003 with the purchase of a hard drive.

            HP and Dell get an even GREATER discount than you are able to get because of the volume of units they move.

            Three reasons to discriminate against Mac users:

            1) They have a virtual monopoly on office software for the Mac. Therefore, they can charge each and every Mac user full pop without fear of losing marketshare. I believe Office has consistently been the top-selling software title for Macintosh for a number of years, so what's the motivation to cut the price?

            2) It contributes to the general belief that Macs are overpriced. You spend a couple hundred more on the hardware, and then you have to spend an extra $200 more than Windows users for Office? It helps price Macs out of the competitive price range of Wintel systems.

            3) Keep Macs out of the lucrative corporate market. Again, they'll sell in volume discount their Windows solutions, but corporate Mac users are stuck.
      • Do the numbers (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @10:44PM (#8141396)
        It may be profitable, because they have very low marketing expenses for Mac products (do they market them at all?)

        It has little to do with marketing budgets; they advertise in Macintosh magazines- they're regularly the first two pages in Macworld. You wouldn't be asking questions if you saw how much Office for the Mac costs.

        That's doubtful.. The OS and Office divisions are the cash cows for Microsoft. There is no way the Mac group is more profitable than the Office group.

        Office is the Mac group's only product, and further, I specifically said the OS division is more profitable. Read, kay? Jesus, it was even in the text you quoted from my comment.

        Here's a few numbers to wrap your head around. 1)MS Office for PCs? Included with almost every PC for nearly free. 2)Office for Macintosh? $400. What's bigger, 5% of the market at $400/copy, or 95% of the market at "near free"? Hmm?

        Why do you think the Macintosh version of Office always comes out first? Why do they sign agreements committing to developing it well into the future? Why do you think it doesn't have any pisses-off-customers product activation? Hmm...maybe because they make a shitload of money off it and want to keep the gravy train rolling?

        • Re:Do the numbers (Score:3, Informative)

          by RazzleFrog ( 537054 )
          Hahahah. Now I understand. You really have no clue what you are talking about. I usually don't take on other people's arguments but you are really scary. You say Office is the Mac group's only product and then you tell him to read? You didn't even read the article.

          I can't even begin to untangle the mess about OS division vs Office division vs Mac Division.

          And you obviously never priced a PC. Office doesn't come with PC's. Dell charges you $129 for the most basic Office and $340 for the full Pro ver
        • .

          > It has little to do with marketing budgets

          The distinction I made was between profitability and revenue.

          Profitability = ( Revenue - Costs ) / Revenue

          So, if the Mac group spends relatively little on advertising, their profit margin increases. By the way, marketing is a lot more than ads in Macworld.. there are all kinds of expenses related to getting the product out there.

          > 1)MS Office for PCs? Included with almost every PC for nearly free

          You clearly have no clue here. Office is included f
    • That sir, is a load of bullshit. From one of my older posts on the same subject:

      According to their Annual Report's [] MD&A they make a profit in Client (Desktop OS), Server, and Information Worker (Office, Visio, etc.). They lost money on Business Solutions (Great Plains Acct Software, etc.), MSN, Mobile and Embedded, Home Entertainment (XBox, etc.), and Other (which had something to do with the sale of Expedia).

      It doesn't break out Mac division but I am sure it is profitable but so negligible in total
    • by WhoDaresWins ( 601501 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @10:50PM (#8141435)
      and a profit-making division at Microsoft is getting be something of a rarity what with the company loosing money through the nose in countless divisions. In fact, I believe there's only one division more profitable- the OS division.
      What utter nonsense are you talking about? Don't go about inventing facts when you don't know what the real facts are. Out of Microsoft's 7 divisions, 4 make a profit. Three of those 4 divisions make a huge profits: Client (OS), Info Worker (Office), and Server & Tools. The Business Solutions and Mobile & Embedded Devices divisions are small and incubating businesses so they don't make much of a profit now. The really big division that makes a loss is Home & Entertainment and thats primarily due to XBox. So no you are totally wrong about Microsoft having only one division that makes a profit. Next time don't spout your own imagination as facts. You can check the Microsoft profit and loss figures for each division in the Form 10Q SEC filings [] that Microsoft makes. Here are the relevant numbers from that report -

      (In millions) Operating Income/Loss Three Months Ended Sept.30 2003
      Client 2,264
      Server and Tools 370
      Information Worker 1,591
      Microsoft Business Solutions -79
      MSN 58
      Mobile and Embedded Devices -32
      Home and Entertainment -273
    • There was a time when many MS products were going to target multiple platforms. If you find an older version of Access you can see some "Not available on Mac" comments that were left in the help by accident while the mac version was still in progress (never shipped). Likewise Visual Basic was going to be ported to the Mac as well and was at least partially done (mostly VBA stuff).
  • by rffmna ( 734875 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:28PM (#8140971) Homepage
    Communisits practicing Capatilism? wait -- is it the other way around?
  • I don't see why people are all surprised and start making jokes when they find out that Microsoft Corporation owns a few dozen Apple computers.

    Surprise surprise -- Apples are largely the top-rated boxes for computer graphics and animation. And I'm sure some of that goes on at Microsoft, even if only in the human resources, marketing, and administrative departments.

    Microsoft's a big company and makes decision based on how they help the company's bottom line. And Macs are great with certain tasks, so why
    • by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @10:16PM (#8141258)
      Try a few hundred (maybe even thousand) Macs. I used to a Mac developer at Microsoft. We had plenty of machines.

      When I was there, they were getting rid of some of their first generation PowerPC Macintoshes. I think in one day they threw away like 500 PowerMac 6100,7100, and 8100s. These were all working units that were going to the landfill because they were out of date. Most companies would have donated them to schools, but Microsoft doesn't donate their used Macs to schools because they figure that's one fewer DOS or Windows license that they won't sell.

      And it wasn't like those 500 machines weren't being replaced. They were replacing them with G3s and G4s at that time just as fast as they were throwing the old ones out.
      • I douibt it had anything to do with schools using them, the macs were probably more of a tax writeoff as trash than as a credit for donation. This happens all the time with big business, now you know why you find such amazing stuff in their trash.
      • I'd be waiting to mug their sanitation guys with that kind of stuff being thrown away. Bet there's perfectly good G3/G4's going soon.
  • Microserfs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:28PM (#8140978) Journal
    Anyone ever read Coupland's Microserfs? it's a book about ex-microsoft employees who launch a startup.,

    All the characters in the book are all envious of the Mac Business Unit within MS, and feel the get all the good gigs.

    I used to think this was some sort of Coupland lie justifying the power book he probably wrote the novel on.

    Now i think maybe he was right.
  • Cool, so I can get a job with Microsoft just for macking? I do that in my free time, anyway!
  • May Microsoft burn in hell for corrupting a Mac!!
  • they care... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by contrasutra ( 640313 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:30PM (#8140995) Journal
    The mac team cares about making high quality software. Anyone notice that the Mac versions of Microsoft software is usually better than the Windows counterparts?

    So it tells you, MS can make good software, they just have to actually care.

    They also fixed the CSS bugs on Mac IE. That just shows you...something. They have a fix for this, but they wont release it for windows. Add your consipiracy theory here.
    • Re:they care... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Hes Nikke ( 237581 ) <> on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:58PM (#8141174) Journal
      Anyone notice that the Mac versions of Microsoft software is usually better than the Windows counterparts?

      with the exception of Outlook (not express) 2001, and any version of Windows Media Player (yes thats what it's called on the mac!) Microsoft software is even some of the best software available for the mac! (i do find myself fighting word and excel a lot though)

      interesting, Outlook and WMP aren't products of the MBU, so they are allowed to suck. ;)
    • They also fixed the CSS bugs on Mac IE.

      Judging from the Mac IE CSS bugs, I'd say that Mac IE uses a completely different CSS engine than Windows IE.

      Look here [] for a list of CSS bugs that Mac IE has that Windows IE doesn't.

      Also, Mac IE has the *worst* javascript implementation of any 5.x+ browser.

      All in all, Mac IE should be avoided like the plague.. it's on par with Netscape 4.
      • Re:they care... (Score:3, Informative)

        by cmacb ( 547347 )
        Well, they have stopped support for IE on the Mac so thats a moot point. IE was the best browser for the Mac for exactly the amount of time that it was the ONLY browser for the Mac. I switched to Mozilla when it was still flaky and slow, but the Safari browser blows both the others away.

        Basically Microsoft doesn't like competition. If they can't buy them or put them out of business they just take there equipment and go home like a pouty child.

        I have a feeling once there is a native office suite for th
    • Re:they care... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by imr ( 106517 )
      Add your consipiracy theory here.

      already done and it's no conspiracy, it's about un-sane technical choices:
      On mac, ie is not tied to the os. []
      Now, If you want to know why they tied the browser to the os, there you can have a few conspiracy comments, but it's no theory: it was documented in some trial you might remember.
  • by sg3000 ( 87992 ) * <> on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:39PM (#8141048)
    Office for the Mac starting with Office 98 was a very Mac-like suite of applications (Ignoring the crappy version before that). In fact, Microsoft seemed to work hard to make it as Mac-like as possible, which even some other developers were a little lax at.

    Office v.X is really good. Excel is a great application, Word a little less so, PowerPoint tolerable. I'd like to see Entourage made a little more Mac OS X technology-friendly-- e.g., give me the option to use the Mac's Address Book within Entourage. But I think they're still doing a good job overall. The fact that Microsoft supported Quartz so quickly is a great sign. Then, after Microsoft dropped the price of Office v.X after sales were a little dismal showed they were responsive to the market. It goes to show you that when Microsoft has to compete, they can do well.

    However, Microsoft doesn't always want to compete -- it's easier to dominate than it is to compete. So when Apple introduced the excellent Safari (and with the success of Camino), Microsoft crumbled like a cookie. The problem is, Internet Explorer was really slow and felt kind of crappy. To this day, whenever you launch it, it bugs you about "making it the default application" while ignoring your request to not display the message again. Not surprisingly, Microsoft killed it (and with it, all Mac compatibility with web designers who insist on designing for Internet Explorer). That action showed the side of Microsoft that all Mac users expect is lurking underneath the shiny, Aqua exterior.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Just as a point of reference .. I spoke to the Mac BU @ macworld exp this year about their plans w/ entourage .. that project center is a great idea and asked if they were planning on getting it to work w/ address book .. the dude told me that they were working on that, you could import the addresses and stuff into entourage .... notice, you're not using the address book .. so I asked him if you can export out back to address book ... which made him laugh a bit and he asked me why they'd do something like t
    • IE never bugs me after I checked the box not to bug me. I also think it's decent, but Safari kicks it's butt! I agree that idiot web designers who design only for IE should be SHOT! I'd LOVE to listen to my favorite radio stations stream on my Mac, but Clear Channel insisted on making it specific to Windows with a goofy plugin. The plugin pushes an ad down (just an Active X thing..only runs during the stream) while the stream plays in Windows Media player. If I everfind the URL for the streaming server
    • by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) * on Saturday January 31, 2004 @01:05AM (#8142173)
      Actually Microsoft killed IE in name but released MSN Explorer [] in its place. Explorer uses the Tasman rendering engine with the glitzy MSN interface on top of it. It's pretty much the same as MSN Explorer on Windows, including even WMP and Messenger.

      It is likely Microsoft will keep MSN Explorer et al up to date because they are trying to grab the Mac crowd for MSN internet access. Earthlink and AOL have long had good support for Mac users and as such they've got quite a few Mac subscribers. Every Mac you buy comes with 30 days of free Earthlink service, AOL dial-up support in Internet Connect, and an AIM compatible IM client. Apple's very friendly with Earthlink and AOL for sticking with them even in bad times. MSN on the other hand has pretty much ignored the Mac market for most of its operational lifetime. Now that MSN is fighting to retain customers left and right they have to support the Mac market. They're losing customers left and right to cheaper dial-up services and broadband providers.
  • Two words... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1984 ( 56406 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:42PM (#8141066)
    "Aggressor Squadron"

    (Yes, yes, it's not for the same thing, I know. Go back to your 'Dew.)
  • Go Apple! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rune.w ( 720113 )

    What I say is that Microsoft should recognize the superiority of the Apple platform. They would probably earn a better reputation if they only developed software for the Mac. They'd probably make MORE moneyb if they developed software in an honest manner.

    • They'd probably make MORE moneyb if they developed software in an honest manner.

      Ahhh, youthful idealism. Charmingly refreshing!
  • by SPYDER Web ( 717344 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:47PM (#8141106)
    Maybe every business has a unit that uses competitors products like Coke has a Pepsi unit and Crest has a unit that brushes their teeth with Aqua Fresh. Its like one big Utopian Free-Market captialist society....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:55PM (#8141156)
    Microsoft have written software ever since the Mac was released in 1984. In fact I believe one of the Office family (was it Word or Excel?) made its GUI debut on the Mac.

    While they might have their differences and have even taken each other to court over OS appearance etc, Bill Gates has been quoted as saying something along the lines of 'The Apple Mac is the only other computer system worth writing software for'.

    Personally I think the Microsoft Mac team [] write some great software. Nice to see common sense transcending the die-hard zealotry we usually see...
  • by medazinol ( 540033 ) on Friday January 30, 2004 @10:37PM (#8141357)
    While I generally like Office, Remote Desktop and can tolerate Virtual PC (lack of G5 support is not acceptable) I find the Mac BU decision re: Exchange server quite criminal. Yes, they added support for Exchange server in Entourage, however that support is for Exchange 2000 and only if you leave things alone in a stock install. We have numerous clients that run Exchange sevrer 5.5 and 2000 but turn off all but MAPI support. MS decided to not include any support for the MAPI protocol in Entourage!! They could have just ported Outlook 2001 to the Carbon spec and we'd be pretty well off but they took another route wich in most corporate environments almost lock us out totally in this manner. Thank Apple for including a fairly robust Classic environment so we can still run Outlook 2001 but if you've ever dealt with Classic apps and trying to get something like Outlook 2001 to runs problem-free then you know that we really need an OS X native Exchange client. To add insult to injury they still don't offer MAPI support in the new Office 2004 they recently announced. Just last week I sent feedback to Apple asking them to explore the possibility of them creating an collaboration system like Notes or Exchange on the Mac platform but making sure they use open protocols, 100% equal Mac, Windows and Linux clients, a plug-in system to integrate with Notes and Exchange and practically give it away. Talks about a killer app for Mac OS X Server.
  • Scary quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brucmack ( 572780 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @12:05AM (#8141854)
    From the article: ...they recounted with pride such tales as the colleague who broke up with a girlfriend who bought a Windows PC.

    This kind of statement really doesn't help the Mac cause... To a non-Mac user, it freaks me out, to tell you the truth. It seems too cult for my tastes.
    • I spent 4 hours telling my uncle everything I knew about guitars, (which is not a little) and especially what *not* to get. This one singular thing I pounded into his head, again and again - backed up with all the reasons why it would be a bad decision: poor investment, not easily fixable, tonally crap, ect.

      What does he show up with nest time I see him. Exactly what I told him *NOT* to get.

      This guy was clueless about the subject, and chose to ignore my advice - from someone who has made a living as a mu

  • Office is a great product, but does anyone know why it has such awful problems with unicode? Cutting and pasting text to or from other applications in Chinese or Russian always results in a garbled mess.
  • by eclectic4 ( 665330 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @12:31AM (#8142000)
    As far as I know, .docs created using Office 98 are still translatable to all post version on both platforms. This is a 6 year old app. So, if they stopped tomorrow how long would it be before Mac users REALLY felt the pinch?
  • by philge ( 731233 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @12:32AM (#8142003)
    Microsoft buys virtual PC. Microsoft adopts power IBM PC processor for next Xbox. Word for OSX could be adapted to run on power pc hardware uunder another OS. MS feels mounting pressure of malicious code and is aware of platform monoculture dilemma. Windows for many people just somewhere to run office. If MS wanted to build a new machine with backwards compatibility through virtual PC, running office natively, then all the pieces are falling into place. Get ready for the clone wars
  • by JayBonci ( 92015 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @05:41AM (#8142964)
    I'll come clean here and say that I in fact did used to work for Microsoft as an intern, in the Macintosh Business Unit. As in, no shit, there I was. These are the people I used to eat lunch with, talk about bugs with, and share the passion for a product with etc. They are Macintosh zealots in the Microsoft community, and deeply care not only about Microsoft, but also the Macintosh community as a whole. As much as you may think of them as black sheep, they wear it as a badge of honor.

    I've never heard more talk from a product group about what the "community" will think about a feature, what value it adds to the target audience, etc. It was a core focus, to not only bring Microsoft Office to that community, but enable them to interact fully with their Windows counterparts. There was no secondary citizenship. These people put their all into the product, and are met with relatively great success.

    An amazing amount of work goes into making the software a great user-experience. Applescript exposure, different UI, Mac-specific features and development... all of those things because the Mac product was hugely important. Localization into at least 5 different languages (off the top of my head). Different product SKUs, and different new developments with what the Mac community had in mind.

    A very cool thing that I found about the team was that in no way lived under the shadow of the greater Office group. They pride themselves on having the "best" version of Office, as wierd as that sounds.

    Kevin Brown, the Business Unit Manager when I was there said at a MacWorld (paraphrased from memory): "We know that our users are mostly home and small business users. People aren't using Excel to make incredibly complicated PivotTables, but are using it to balance their checkbook". That quote stuck out in my mind as something that always made me chuckle. It was a realistic look at how this "enterprise class" piece of software was realistically being used by the community at large.

    These are developers and testers who use their Mac everyday (some even faking their PC). I knew one tester who used the product for everything. Signs, balancing his budget, right on down to making grocery lists in word, and porting them over to Powerpoint, just to see.

    I worked on the clamshell version of Office 2001, and the trophy copy still sits on my desk. I hate to hear when people bash the group as some kind of whack strategy to sink Apple, because not only are these people my professional friends, but they simply don't think that way.

    It was a refreshing two summers working for the Evil Empire (tm), but being a part of a group with as much passion for quality and desire to put out the best software possible. It's made me a rabid tester, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I remember that huge Mac lab you see behind you running SETI at home, as we were in the top 20 or so for a while ;)

    If you guys are reading this, glad to hear you're going strong.

    --Jay Bonci (summer of 1999, 2000, Mac Office Core)
  • by The Breeze ( 140484 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @11:04AM (#8143638) Homepage
    I haven't seen an article yet about the MS Linux Business Unit programmers.

    Oh, wait. That's because the Microsoft Linux Business Unit has no programmers - just a legal staff, and they are outsourced to some company based in Utah.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford