As Macworld Conference & Expo draws near in New York City this week, the Wall Street Journal has published a scathing article about the state of Mac OS X adoption and how it has affected some Mac software publishers — chief among them Microsoft Corp., whose Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) head said that the company may re-evaluate its relationship with Apple unless Apple makes a stronger effort to market the operating system.
Wall Street Journal staff reporter Pui-Wing Tam quoted MacBU head Kevin Browne as saying that Apple hasn’t made “a concerted effort” to promote Mac OS X, despite opportunity and his company’s demonstrated willingness to support the platform. Browne also reassured Tam that Microsoft will deliver another Macintosh version of Office next year, but expressed long-term concern about Microsoft’s opportunities in the Mac market.
“If things don’t dramatically turn around, we’ll be evaluating this business with Apple,” said Browne. Microsoft said that it has sold 300,000 copies of Office v. X, less than half of the 750,000 copies it reportedly expected to sell since the software was released late last year.
Browne’s comments drew criticism from Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller. Schiller told the Wall Street Journal that Microsoft’s concerns are “very, very misplaced” and suggested that the $499 price tag of Office may be a reason why Microsoft’s sales are sluggish. What’s more, Schiller said that “the majority” of OS X software developers are happy with their sales. Schiller also said that Apple is “right on top” of its own targets for Mac OS X’s adoption rate — totaling about 10 percent of the estimated 25 million Mac users.
Corel Corp. is another high profile Mac OS X supporter. Its current crop of products include Corel Graphics Suite 10 for Macintosh, Painter 7, KPT Effects and KnockOut 2. The company also plans to offer CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11 as a simultaneous release for Windows and Mac OS X when it debuts this August.
Corel executive vice president of marketing Annette McCleave told Tam that her company has seen “muted response” from Apple when it articulated concerns about OS X’s adoption rate. Schiller disputed the assertion, and told Tam that Apple “doesn’t intend to have a muted response to anybody, and there’s always more we can do together.”
Not all the news is bad. Adobe’s own figures show that Mac software sales are up 31 percent for its second fiscal quarter, a 6 percent upward swing from the previous quarter, suggesting that OS X sales at the company are on the rise. Adobe released its flagship application, Photoshop 7, in OS X native form earlier this year.
Macworld magazine’s own poll of its readers show that 58 percent have installed Mac OS X, with 46 percent using the operating system. Another 36 percent of those polled are considering OS X for purchase. Macworld will release the results of its “Plan to Buy Survey” at Macworld Expo this week.