Reuters calls Microsoft ‘biggest seller of Mac software’ – did they forget about Apple?

“Microsoft… is the biggest seller of software for the Macintosh with its Office for ‘Mac OS X’, Apple’s operating system for the Macintosh,” reports Reuters here.


Microsoft comlained that they had sold just 300,000 copies of Office v. X as of July 17, 2002. At Macworld SF 2003, Steve Jobs announced that 5 million Mac OS X users existed. In fact, over 100,000 copies of Jaguar alone had sold in just the first weekend of sales.

Unless Microsoft has sold multiple millions more copies of Office v.X in the last seven months, we don’t see how Microsoft can be called “the biggest seller of software for the Macintosh.” No matter how you slice it, isn’t Apple easily the biggest seller of software for the Macintosh?

If you’re interested in asking Reuters about how they arrived at the quoted statement, please click here to ask a Reuters editor to clarify. We already did like so:

In your story, “Microsoft upgrades mail software for Macintosh, Tue February 11, 2003 03:01 PM ET,” (, you write, “Microsoft… is the biggest seller of software for the Macintosh with its Office for ‘Mac OS X’, Apple’s operating system for the Macintosh.” Did you forget about Apple? Apple is quite possibly the actual “biggest seller of software for the Macintosh,” I believe. Do you have any facts to back up your questionable statement? Thank you.


  1. I emailed them on this – you must be right. Sounds like a blanket statement colored by the usual unthinking Wintel bias. They probably can’t even conceive of a computer not wedded to Microsoft 100%.

  2. While inartfully drafted, I do believe, they are correct. Microsoft as a company, surely has no competitors it size, that make software for the Macintosh. Including Apple.

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  3. No, Chris – can’t be so logically. Even if ONE Mac user runs his/her Mac with no Microsoft software, they are still running Apple software guaranteed. If 99.99% of all Macs run some Microsoft software, 100% of Macs run Apple software, so Apple is number one on the Mac. Even after considering the very small number of Linux on PPC users who might run neither Apple or Microsoft or one or the other, we must remember that obviously more than ONE Mac user runs his/her Mac w/o Microsoft polluting their system. I know at least five Mac users who are 100% Microsoft free, including myself. Right? Am I missing something?

  4. Do that many people really use office? I only know one Mac user with office. I’ll bet they just pulled this out of thin air. Some real numbers would have been nice. Some other vendors are privately held and don’t report numbers like this. Adobe sells a lot on the Mac but I don’t recall the amount they sold last year. You don’t think Adobe sold more on the Mac in dollars than ms$? Photoshop is multihundreds of dollars, Indesign is multihundreds of dollars, acrobat is a couple hundred.

    Reminds me of the articles that talk about windows being a “standard” OS and Mac OS being proprietary. Actually, the opposite is closer to the truth as much of Mac OS X is based on open source, but to get to that level of understanding would actually take a little digging.

  5. You all misunderstood what I said…and it was tongue in cheek…

    Name me a company with gross revenues “bigger” than Microsoft? Just one, I dare you….you can’t do it, software, or otherwise. Therefore Microsoft is the “biggest” seller of macintosh software. If AT&T also sold macintosh software, they would be the “2d biggest” seller of macintosh software…get it now?

    Yes indeed, Apple produces and sells more mac software than anyone else, that’s res ipsa loquitur. But the biggest company, that also sells macintosh software, is M$.


  6. Stu, followup: that’s an old list, but I’ll concede HP and Motorola…although it would be a stretch to say they “sell” macintosh software.

    I just reread my post…what I typed is not what I intended to say, I should have previewed it. the “or otherwise” originally was for another train of thought that I didn’t include, and forgot to delete completely….but oh well, I’ll concede that there are at least 70 other companies with gross revenues bigger than Microsoft. (I wont concede Enron) But of those 70 how many are software companies? Not many if any.

  7. Ok, I’ll give you Enron. This is the latest Fortune500 (2002, since 2003 isn’t out yet) list. Most changes on the list are only a few numbers up or down, so it’s not totally invalid.

    But Walmart, IBM, AT&T, Verison, SBC Communications, Target, AOL, Costco and Sprint all sell Mac software or sell products/services that include Mac software. I know this is belaboring the point now, but there are quite a few when you look around.

    I think this horse is officially dead, and doesn’t need to be beaten any further!

  8. Some may have missed the technicality of “seller of software”. Apple does not sell the pre-installed software, nor could you include the free Safari and even iTunes and iMovie. But I would guess that their sales of OS X (10.2), new software (Keynote), etc. would outsell anything that Microsoft sells for the Mac. But, after looking at the actual Apple-produced software at Apple’s Store (, there really isn’t that much and Microsoft would only have a few game makers as competition for the title of highest Mac software sales.

    Personally, of the dozen or so Mac users that I know, NONE use Microsoft Office.

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