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Will Apple and Microsoft Renew their Vows?

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the match-made-in-hell dept.

Apple 92

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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92 comments

It's a shame... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051494)

that they didn't let Apple die then. Instead they continue to produce slow, over-priced machines that are of little use to anyone.

Friends are nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051499)

Apple needs Office. They'll work something out.

Re:Friends are nice (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056116)

In the old days, the McOffice port was an after thought. Word 5.0 for macintosh was universally acclaimed, but Word 98 would make rational people wonder if it wasn't intentionally crippled. Currently, MS has a separate group to deal with the Macintosh software, and instead of being a port, it's been forked and made macintosh native. Offize X doesn't match office XP feature for feature - it lacks some, makes up for it in others, is carbonized, and, having used both, seems slicker.

this is the single most important question (2, Insightful)

elliotj (519297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051582)

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.

Re:this is the single most important question (2)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 12 years ago | (#3052157)

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.

Re:this is the single most important question (2)

pressman (182919) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055207)

Can AppleWorks save out to .doc format? If it could do that reliably, that would be quite the coup.

Re:this is the single most important question (2)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055602)

Why yes it can. Now, how well it does with complex documents I have no idea, but for your average everyday .doc document (at least all the one's I've seen at work and play) it works dandy.

Re:this is the single most important question (2)

pressman (182919) | more than 12 years ago | (#3057491)

Well that's just ducky! Thanks for answering that for me.

It is true that you learn something new everyday!

Re:this is the single most important question (3, Insightful)

questionlp (58365) | more than 12 years ago | (#3052509)

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.

Re:this is the single most important question (1)

speculums (317287) | more than 12 years ago | (#3052874)

I heard a os x version 7 of photoshop will soon be forthcoming.

Re:this is the single most important question (1)

questionlp (58365) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053396)

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).

Re:this is the single most important question (1)

mjpaci (33725) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053356)

Forget PageMaker. Adobe has been pumping resources into InDesign as their Quark killer. It already has a native OS X version.

Re:this is the single most important question (1)

questionlp (58365) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053454)

InDesign 2.0 is a really nice product and has a huge potential to be the Quark killer, I definitely agree to that. There is a chance that the designers where I work will be moving to InDesign from Quark. PageMaker still has it's uses though.

Not quite--Adobe at the forefront (2)

JimRay (6620) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056283)

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.

Apple & MS News (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051583)

Re:Apple & MS News (1)

peperone (519930) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051705)

Somehow I can't find any good news on the page you're linking to...

Re:Apple & MS News (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3053161)

troll. maybe if you pulled your head out of your ass you could.

Re:Apple & MS News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3052552)

thanks for the link. it's nice to have a balanced rumor site for once, unlike MOSR.

The courts scare Microsoft (3, Interesting)

Lewisham (239493) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

Apple has more leverage though (5, Interesting)

gouldtj (21635) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051606)

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.

Re:Apple has more leverage though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3052151)

Microsoft was ruled to have a monopoly in the Intel-compatible x086 personal computer market. Not the personal computer market in general. Microsoft helping the Mac OS doesn't help this situation unless Apple ports their OS to Intel (which aint going to happen).

Apple can't use the court situation as leverage against Microsoft.

Re:Apple has more leverage though (1)

cappadocius (555740) | more than 12 years ago | (#3052263)

no question that M$ won't support linux. Macs are primarily a different market than Wintels. Linux aims to be precicely the same market as Windows.

Re:Apple has more leverage though (1)

cjerens (254431) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056981)

Not only that--Microsoft seems to have great prejudice for anything that is opensource. The mere idea of Linux seems to scare them.

Something will happen, that's for sure.... (1)

jeblucas (560748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051621)

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.

Re:Something will happen, that's for sure.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#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 Source AppleWorks (1)

defeated (449449) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053926)

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.

Re:Something will happen, that's for sure.... (1)

EddydaSquige (552178) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055688)

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.

Re:Something will happen, that's for sure.... (3, Informative)

90XDoubleSide (522791) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053352)

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)

Office yes, quality maybe (1)

feldsteins (313201) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051822)

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.

Re:Office yes, quality maybe (1)

Adam Taro (30380) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055185)

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.

Here's hoping they don't. (3, Insightful)

vonkraken (228236) | more than 12 years ago | (#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

Well, I doubt Apple would like that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3052294)

Apple would seriously have some problems with MS modifying their operating system. Aside from the fact that any modification would be fixed by the Apple update teams, Apple itself would be in an uproar if the operating system was mangled by the Office installer. Microsoft wouldn't want to lose face in the mac community (see MacAddict's I Love Microsoft articles, various issues) because they want to make $$$, not make alternate product's sales (such as appleworks or stonetools) go up. They make good money off their Mac BU, and modifying another (somewhat friendly) company's operating system isn't a welcome gesture.

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (1)

cel4145 (468272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3052729)

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.

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (3, Interesting)

90XDoubleSide (522791) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053190)

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!

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (1)

cel4145 (468272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054024)

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.

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (1)

Adam Taro (30380) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055232)

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.

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3058511)

I believe you can still get an old version of OmniWeb for OpenStep that runs on Solaris/HP-UX/Windows. It's not really fair to blame Omni because their runtime library vendor (Apple) decided to stop cross-platform support.

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (4, Insightful)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.)

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (2)

90XDoubleSide (522791) | more than 12 years ago | (#3062689)

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.

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3063012)

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.

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (2)

ptrourke (529610) | more than 12 years ago | (#3107936)

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).

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (1)

mccoma (64578) | more than 12 years ago | (#3060110)

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.

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (2)

ptrourke (529610) | more than 12 years ago | (#3107973)

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).

Re:Here's hoping they don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055595)

FYI -- Forget about OpenOffice on the Mac -- Sun is not officially supporting development, so it's up to a very small number of volunteers. Even if a port is completed, it will look-n-feel just like the Windows versions, which means that Mac users will not use it.

The only hope would be if Apple and MS get divorced again, and if Apple themselves got to work on the package.

(Stupid move by Sun, IMO. In most corps, "cross-platform" support means Windows and Mac, not Windows and Unix. The success of MS Office can be partially attributed to Mac support when other vendors had none.)

Open Source Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3052027)

Of course there are many open-source alternatives that could easily be ported to the macintosh, one of which could be AbiWord. The people at TheGIMP were able to do it, and Ximian has managed to design a suite of utilities that gets pretty close to office. There's no reason that if Microsoft didn't step up to the plate that they wouldn't. They need all the fuel they can get.

Re:Open Source Alternatives (1)

wazzzup (172351) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053024)

I downloaded AbiWord for OS X. Maybe I'm picky but the fonts displayed on my powerbook by X11 SUCK. Put it in italics and it's nearly unreadable.

I won't buy MS Office but I'll try like hell to find a decent office replacements for OS X that don't have such an abysmal font display. I suspect I may not be the only one that feels this way either.

appleworks (3, Informative)

spike666 (170947) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053389)

AppleWorks is nice, it doesnt support powerpoint, but it does word and excel formats. no, its not open source, but its cheap (~US$80) and smaller than Office (ok thats not hard)

plus its fully cocoa so it can make the fonts look nice.

Re:appleworks (2)

ptrourke (529610) | more than 12 years ago | (#3108025)

Last I checked, AppleWords is Carbon, not Cocoa. http://osonline.org/mac/index.phtml?storyID=570

Re:Open Source Alternatives (1)

bsartist (550317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055606)

It's not just you - I tried AbiWord and several other X apps. The font rendering was so horrible it made my eyes bleed.

open source (3, Insightful)

passion (84900) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

Re:open source (1)

buzban (227721) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053118)

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... ;)

If ClarisWorks &c didn't cut it. . (3, Insightful)

Bastian (66383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053265)

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.

Re:If ClarisWorks &c didn't cut it. . (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053375)

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.

Re:If ClarisWorks &c didn't cut it. . (2)

Desperado (23084) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053968)

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.

Re:If ClarisWorks &c didn't cut it. . (2)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054486)

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.

Re:open source (1)

FBickerstaff (560450) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054274)

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.

Re:open source (2)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055051)

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].)

Re:open source (2)

passion (84900) | more than 12 years ago | (#3074384)

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.

Re:open source (2)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3076717)

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 (2, Interesting)

cappadocius (555740) | more than 12 years ago | (#3052339)

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.

Re:MSN Messenger (2)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054353)

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.

Re:MSN Messenger (1)

sparkleytone (561198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054768)

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.

Stock Manipulation Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3052465)

I think that someone wrote an article about the stock games that Microsoft played during the last announcement. Part of the agreement was that MS would buy thousands of shares of non-voting Apple stock (to increase confidence).

But at the same time they also sold short the same amount of stock (or maybe more I don't recall). So the net effect on Apple's stock price was nothing (followed by a dip as investors expecting to see a rise started pulling out).

I expect Microsoft will perform similar tricks when the five years is up regardless of what anyone agrees or announces at MacWorld.

They've probably been slowly acculmulating Apple stock over time so that when MacWorld New York is over they can dump a huge amount and make it look like whatever Apple announced has spooked investors about the company.

Maybe it won't be Microsoft (the corporation) that does this. They're under all sorts of regulator scrutiny right now, but it certainly could be any number of Microsoft millionaires who do this. Heck Bill G, could probably pull something like this with his spare lunch money.

We'll see what happens. Big dip after MacWorld NY? Just expect it.

Super-secret-inside-info (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3052607)

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.

Probably no "deal" but we will still get Office (1)

Arcturax (454188) | more than 12 years ago | (#3052702)

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) :)

Re:Probably no "deal" but we will still get Office (1)

WeirdKid (260577) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053191)

I like OmniWeb too, and I really, really try to make it my only browser, but it just can't handle any of my online banking and finance sites. So, I'm stuck with IE until the "alternative" browsers catch up.

Re:Probably no "deal" but we will still get Office (2)

90XDoubleSide (522791) | more than 12 years ago | (#3053276)

Are your online bank/finance sites just rejecting you because they don't know your broser (i.e. you must download Netscape or IE as oppesed to just not working because of JavaScript problems)? If so, just get OW 4.1b1 or a nightly build of 4.1, go to Preferences>Compatibility, and have it identify itself as some browser they do support.

Re:Probably no "deal" but we will still get Office (1)

WeirdKid (260577) | more than 12 years ago | (#3064599)

Unfortunately, most bank/finance sites rely *heavily* upon Javascript -- which OW and iCab don't handle so nicely.

Apple needs to wait for Outlook (3, Insightful)

OctavianMH (61823) | more than 12 years ago | (#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!

Re:Apple needs to wait for Outlook (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3053163)

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. :)

Re:Apple needs to wait for Outlook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055556)

There's lots of confusion around this, but MS Entourage does not talk to Exchange Server except via IMAP/POP. Microsoft makes a seperate product called Outlook/Mac which does pretty much everything Outlook for Windows does in a corporate environment (scheduling, public folders etc.)

Meanwhile, Entourage is more of a PIM ("personal" info manager) thing. The confusing part is that Outlook/Win is sold as both a PIM and a corp groupware client, but it's actually a pretty crappy PIM.

Right now Mac Outlook is Classic, but the noises strongly suggest a OS X port is coming.

Check out this [microsoft.com] if you are still confused about MS's Mac Mail Maze.

Re:Apple needs to wait for Outlook (1)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055414)

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.

Re:Apple needs to wait for Outlook (2)

ellem (147712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055581)

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.

retro me, satanas (2)

Doktor Memory (237313) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056011)

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.

Re:retro me, satanas (1)

ellem (147712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3057763)

Ok, ok... 4.6 was... problematic.

but R5 and Rnext have fixed a number of issues.

Re:retro me, satanas (2)

Doktor Memory (237313) | more than 12 years ago | (#3058548)

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.

Re:retro me, satanas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3066415)

RScrapped ..

Re:retro me, satanas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3058525)

" the reason that Exchange has completely dominated the corporate messaging market despite its many horrible, crippling flaws"

Nope -- Notes has a larger installed base than Exchange by a significant amount, although most of it is inside the walls of very large corporations.

The idea that Exchange is "winning" is basically just Microsoft's FUD after a major Exchange sales effort essentially ended in a tie with Lotus.

Re:retro me, satanas (2)

Doktor Memory (237313) | more than 12 years ago | (#3058540)

Notes has a larger installed base than Exchange by a significant amount, although most of it is inside the walls of very large corporations.

I'd be really curious to see some backing for those figures. I'd be even more curious to see how those figures look after you factor IBM's internal use of Notes (and, to be fair, Microsoft's internal use of Exchange) out of the equation.

I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong, it's just completely the opposite of my admittedly anecdotal experience.

And I will certainly stand by my assertion that Exchange is by leaps and bound the superior product, Outlook worms and all.

Why wait? (2)

Doktor Memory (237313) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055986)

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.

Open Standards.... (1)

boio (533648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3052964)

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?

Re:Open Standards.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3058457)

Office Mac is integrated with QuickTime, so it can read and write any format that QuickTime can read and write. For example, at the recent QuickTime Live conference, a presenter showed an MPEG-4 movie running in Word X, which was made possible simply by installing QuickTime 6 on the same computer. PowerPoint presentations can also easily be exported as QuickTime movies, which you can make into a DVD video disc with iDVD in a few minutes with no training. There is also an article at apple.com about some surround sound engineers whose PowerPoint presentations have 5.1 surround sound in them, which is not possible on Windows.

The Mac platform itself is benefiting from open standards and good architecture, and Microsoft's Mac apps also benefit from this. On Windows, the equivalent stuff has far fewer features and is always crippled by MS file formats, copy protection issues and poor or no security/privacy. Windows Media Player looks OK next to RealPlayer, but neither is a patch on QuickTime, which is like the UNIX of multimedia.

Apple-MS Agreement Won't Renewed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3053090)


It doesn't have to be. MacBU makes money for MS, and the guys in Redmond respect that. Most importantly, MS will likely be forced to support Mac OS X by any final settlement of the anti-trust cases against it.

OS X (1)

crumbz (41803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055140)

Does anyone know if OS X is POSIX compliant?

Re:OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055743)

Apple considers Mac OS X to be a Posix compliant platform. You can report bugs to them about way that Mac OS X fails to meet the standard and they will fix the bug.

They have said though that they will not go through the Posix certification process. Too long and too much money when all most people really care about is compliance.

This reminds me of the Linux Zealots (3, Insightful)

ellem (147712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055611)

"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.

Native .Net support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3056909)

Apple needs MS (Office and IE)

MS needs Apple (for not being the only consumer OS seller)
I bet future version of Mac OS X will support the .Net framework.

Microsoft Needs Apple.... (1)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 12 years ago | (#3058240)

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....

Re:Microsoft Needs Apple.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3058479)

Apple has its own MS-compatible office suite, called AppleWorks, that runs on Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and Windows. It's $79, and is also included with iMacs and iBooks. It has word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentations. I have friends who have both MS Office and AppleWorks and they ended up using AppleWorks just because it was easier and had all the features they needed anyway, and no viruses either.

MS Office is not the most important Mac application, by far, but it is important to expanding Apple's market share into business, which is obviously something that they want to do right now with OS X and the new plainer machines. Many of Apple's core markets are still waiting for OS X software (graphics people waiting for Photoshop; music and audio people waiting for Pro Tools) so having MS Office X and OS X ready to go for business today is a good way to keep growing until the creative markets come to OS X with a vengeance.

In short, much of the current user base could get along without MS Office, but the user base that Apple wants to have in a few years will include a lot more business people and MS Office users.
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