“Apple Computer and Microsoft said Tuesday they reached a new agreement assuring that Microsoft will continue making Word, Excel and other Office programs for Macintosh computers for at least another five years,” Todd Bishop reports for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “The agreement between Microsoft and Apple marks a new chapter in the up-and-down relationship between the two tech icons. Although the deal essentially formalizes what Microsoft had been doing already, it could help alleviate the concerns of Mac users worried about the company’s long-term commitment to making software for Apple computers. ‘This official commitment should leave no doubt in your mind that we’re here to stay and we’re in it for the long term,’ said Roz Ho, general manager of Microsoft’s Mac business unit.”

“Unlike a previous agreement between the companies, which included an investment in Apple by Microsoft, the new deal doesn’t include any exchange of money between the companies, said Scott Erickson, director of product management and marketing in Microsoft’s Mac business unit,” Bishop reports. The agreement “is slated to run for a minimum of five years. As part of the deal, Apple also agreed to give Microsoft timely access to key technologies needed to make Office for the Mac operating system, he said. Each disc for the next version of Office for Mac will contain two varieties of the programs, one for the Intel-based machines and another for those based on IBM Power PC, Erickson said. Although a release date hasn’t been announced, the next version is expected to come out sometime between May of this year and May 2007, based on the typical two- to three-year development cycle for Office for Mac. Up until that point, the existing version of Microsoft Office for Mac will run on Intel-based Macs using Apple’s Rosetta technology, which has been designed for purposes of the transition, Erickson said.”

Full article here.

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