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Mac users 'guinea pigs' for Mac Office?

updated 10:10 am EST, Mon March 5, 2007

Mac users test subjects?

The ongoing anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft in the state of Iowa has uncovered evidence that the Redmond-based company considered halting Mac Office development to "do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately," and that the company used Mac users as test subjects for new features of its Office application prior to a more "critical" Windows release. An email memo dated June of 1997 from Microsoft founder Bill Gates to Ben Waldman, who then served as the leader of Microsoft's Mac Business Unit, discussed the morale in the Mac Office development department and mentioned abandoning Mac support for Office. The memo cited unsatisfactory sales of Mac Office, blaming sales reps who lacked focus. That same email describes dumping Mac Office as "the strongest bargaining point we have, as doing so will do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately."

by MacNN Staff





  1. phillymjs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not surprised

    Jobs knew it, too, that's why he squeezed that 5-year commitment to keep developing Mac Office out of them back in '97.

    It's much less of an issue now, since Apple is a spreadsheet application away from having their own office suite-- and that's if you don't want to run Windows Office in a virtual machine.

  1. CeeDion

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree

    I'd have been more surprised if they hadn't considered killing it.

  1. hokizpokis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    so what

    we have the goole web office suite now for a mere fifty buckeroos per year, he, he ... mso for mac is overpriced anyway... and apples own iWork suite is even less $$$...

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Open Office

    And don't forget Open Office, which works nicely!

    However, that beeing said, MS office is genuinely a very nice application. I like entourage for mail, and the floating palette in Word layout(s) in these apps are very good.

    Point is, in 97, if sales were not good, that is a good reason for abandoning it. However, Sales of MS office for apple are good, and I am looking forward to the 2007 version (patches and all!)

  1. Moof

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Myopic comments

    Al of you that dimisses the importance of MS Office for Mac obviously don't work in a corporate environment. Even though the Mac and PC versions aren't identical, Office for the Mac is the only way many Mac-based businesses can hang on to the Mac. All other Office alternatives, and I do mean all, are not mature enough to make document sharing transparent with PC Office users. Maybe sometime in the future - not now.

    Perhaps the drive to open XML file formats will help to that end.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    We all knew it

    But having it on paper is amazing.

    (quote): The threat to Cancel Mac Office 97 is certainly the strongest bargaining point we 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 VP who visited MS today, he seemed very cortcamed about getting more details on our specific objections to their latest proposal. (/quote)

    Proposals? Apple was negotiating with MS about something (user interface?) and MS was using Office 97 as a bargaining point. Typically MS, i hope Apple totally obliterates MS with osX for PC.

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Disagree somewhat

    I agree that interchangeability is critical,and with MSoffice there is no problem. However, I have yet to have an issue with Open Office 2.0 either. I use both just to mix things up, but I do prefer MS office.

    As far as anything else goes (key note, pages, etc) they are not compatible enough to be viable...yet.

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    After Microsoft's latest

    Microsoft's latest antics have a lot of large corporations looking at Lotus Smart Suite. Everybody outside the US is looking toward open source solutions. They are trying to hold on too tight but they don't realize the market is Jello and the tighter they squeeze....

    This note was from a while back, and I like the way the MBU fought to keep this alive (nobody wants their baby killed), when it would have done Apple harm. Now days, this wouldn't do anybody harm except Microsoft.

    If Microsoft were to kill Office for Mac, the void would be filled so fast the earth would quake. The resulting tidal wave would flow right over into their Windows Office area where companies would switch to keep all their users on the same app. For each large business that switches, numerous small businesses would follow.

    It would be another self inflicted bullet wound in Microsoft's feet. I wish they would go for it now!

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Anti-trust ? Bullshit !!

    There is no law that requires any company to produce/develop software for multiple platforms_

    Otherwise - for every version of Unix/ Linux/ OS/2 and every other non-Windows platform - there would be concurrent versions of Exchange - Access - Publisher - Explorer and many other obscure little Apps that Microsoft makes_

    In addition - Apple and other software companies would have to do the same_ Final Cut Pro - Apreture - iWeb - Safari for Windows_ Adobe would have to produce all it's title for every platform - which it's very selective about which titles it produces for what platforms_

    Iowa has no case_

    TRUE - The Mac/ PC versions are quite different_ there is better control and way more functionality on the Mac version than the current PC version by far_

    And to MOOF [talk about myopic] - sorry but I work in a PC environment currently [during the day]and before this and at home I have a Mac and do freelance work for clients ALL the time - I get Publisher Docs - Powerpoint Slides - Excel Files and Word Docs_ I have never had a problem opening them up on a Mac without Office installed_ Sometimes I have it installed on the Mac and sometimes not_ Never been hindered whether I do or do not_

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Error in article

    Please note: the quotations cited are NOT from Bill Gates. They are from Ben Waldman to Bill Gates. Someone needs to read a ittle more carefully.

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