Just saying the name Microsoft can start a fierce debate between Mac users. Some view the Software giant as the evil empire and will do anything not to use the programs they develop. Others see Microsoft applications, like Office, as necessary to compete in a cross-platform business world. There’s another group of Mac users that like what the company is developing and use the programs on a regular basis.
According to Reuters, Microsoft has a message for those people who think the company is a rival to Apple — get over it.
Many Mac users have been upset with Microsoft since the days of Office 4.x, which was prone to crashes, data loss, and many bugs. However, Microsoft says that Office 2001 has been developed with Mac users in mind, using Mac first, Mac only features.
“Our relationship with Apple has never been better,” said Kevin Browne, general manager of the Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU), the division of Microsoft that develops programs for the Mac,
in a recent interview with Reuters.
Browne explains that Microsoft needed to look at the Mac and decide what to do — the result was the formation of the MacBU, an internal organization focused on catering to Mac users with programs like Office, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express.
“In the last four years we’ve recovered our soul to a large extent. It’s understanding that Mac users are different from Windows users,” Browne said.
The MacBU is also trying to work Microsoft’s .Net strategy into the next version of Office for the Mac. The next version of Office for Windows, due May 31, will feature such integration “by sporting new collaborative features and ‘smart tags’ that can do things like pull stock quotes directly off the Web and plunk them into a document or spreadsheet.”
“On the .Net initiative the watchword for us is to try to ensure that the Mac customer can get these services. It is a little premature for us to detail how we go about doing it,” Browne told Reuters.
One analyst that Reuters spoke with for the story said that the port of the .Net features should be easier because the Mac OS X core and the Windows 2000 core have more in common than in the past.
Speaking of OS X, not much has changed in the development time — Office for the Mac is still slated for a fall release.
“What we are trying to do now is transition the business over to OS X,” Browne said. “The adjustment has been slow to get back to same level of productivity as on OS 9 because it’s such a new system.”
What about Bill Gates, how does he feel about the Mac? We’ve all read that Gates likes the Mac, but Browne says it’s true.
“Bill Gates, by the way, is a huge Mac fan and he has a warm spot in his heart for the Mac platform, and it hurt him to see our customers suffering,” Browne said.