Alex Salkever for BusinessWeek writes that “Apple’s real worry isn’t the loss of IE,” in his latest “Byte of the Apple” column.
Salkever writes, “Who needs Internet Explorer, now that Jobs & Co. has its own browser? The much bigger threat is the growing chance that Microsoft will abandon Office for the Mac.”
“That Redmond pulled the plug on IE for Apple was hardly a surprise. After all, Jobs & Co. must have expected some reaction when it released Safari. But far more daunting is the prospect of Microsoft abandoning the Mac version of its popular Office software. That’s because Apple hasn’t yet shown it can replace Office for most of its users. And without Office, Apple’s whole “switchers” program to convert Windows users will probably run aground,” Salkever writes.
MacDailyNews Take: Newsflash: Apple’s “Switch” campaign ran aground a long time ago. Witness no new televeision commericals in months and all we see broadcast now are Apple ads for the iTunes Music Store.
Salkever writes, “…I’m having trouble seeing why Microsoft would continue throwing a significant amount of resources -? the Mac BU has 150 coders — at a computing platform with a market share of only 5% of the installed PC base, according to Apple itself. Software works as a business when it scales to larger numbers of buyers. That’s because once a program is developed, the cost of selling an extra unit is virtually nil.”
“Yes, open-source Office clones are now available for Mac. But all have some compatibility problems. Worse still, they’re open-source. That’s anathema to Apple. From Day One, Jobs has made sure that the final software layer between Apple and its users remains proprietary. That layer, the vaunted Mac user interface, is Apple’s key selling point. Surely Apple would want to continue that ease of use into the most popular applications for its platform — the Office-like programs,” write Salkever. “So if Apple chooses to replace Microsoft Office with an open-source version, Jobs would have to make a hard choice. Should he let the open-source community peek at his proprietary code to build Office clones that work more effectively on Macs and have the same smooth feel that Mac users expect?”
“The upshot of all this? Losing IE is no big deal. Safari works even better. Losing Microsoft Office, however, would create far thornier problems for Jobs. That possibility looks increasingly likely if Office for Mac can’t clear whatever profitability hurdle Redmond has set for it. And with the Apple-Microsoft marriage having one less thing in common now, a final split may be the only move left,” Salkever opines. Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Note how Salkever says that “Safari works ever better” than IE, implying that IE works well. Has he ever used MS IE for Mac and compared it to Safari? IE does not work well. It is slow, more often than not fails to render the full page without forcing the user to resize the window to force the whole page to render, and lacks many features found in modern browsers, such as Tabbed Browsing. Macintosh would survive just fine without Microsoft Office, thank you very much. The vast majority of Mac users using MS Office don’t even need it, they just think they do.