Microsoft commits to Mac Office for at least another five years

“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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  1. How much to do you wanna bet that part of the agreement was a promise from Apple to not release a real competitor to Microsoft Excel? Where’s the spreadsheet app called “Numbers” that seemed like an obvious addition to iWork?

    Also, why is there no talk about a new version of Virtual PC that will run Windows natively in a virtual machine within Mac OS X without the need for emulation? Did anyone else notice in the recent Bill Gates inteview on EnGadget that Bill said something like “We HAD this thing called VirtualPC for Mac” (emphasis added)?

    I’m hoping the open source community steps up to the plate and provides a decent virtual machine for running Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac OS X within Mac OS X soon.


  2. 5 years gives us good time to migrate to something better/different

    I second that, I absolutely refuse to run any Microsoft software no matter how good it is anymore.

    Many people don’t know but about a year and a half ago a exploit was discovered for Excel on the Mac that streched back even to the earliest versions.

    I allowed complete remote code execution.

    That’s a long time and given thier present track record, I would be surprised if there is few more.

    Luckily Mac OS X’s admin password prevents access to the OS, however it’s been a trend lately to require a admin passowrd for installion of programs.

    This has got to stop.

    Symantec maker of Norton AV has had this very serious Mac exploit discovered December 25, 2005 that affects all their products, it allowed complete take over of Mac’s because NAV demands a admin password to run exposing our machines to the hackers.

    Vote with your wallet, complain now before every program under the sun demands a admin password to run/install.

  3. If we have to buy a copy of Office for Mac before the Intel versions come out, will M$ provide a free/discounted upgrade? M$ did something like that the last time they came out with a new version.

  4. This helps further my prediction that Apple can begin to absorb or swallow Windows in Leopard– dual-boot, fast-OS switching, or run Windows apps natively maybe. There is a five year period when M$ cannot use Office as a bargaining chip against sucha thing.

    Plenty long enough to have an Office alternative if things get mean between Apple and M$ by then…

  5. Actually, I think Steve purposley left the spreadsheet out of iWork O6, yet it includes tables that can do calculations.

    The 5 year deal is enough time for Mac users to get used to iWork’s functionality and also allows users to compare iWork and Office on the Mac.

    I believe this is a shot across the bow of Microsoft’s ship. If Microsoft mucks around with this current “minimum 5 year deal” by having Office to act funny on macs; then Apple can just add a spreadsheet to iWork and would immediatley have a competitive Office suite (sweet) to MS office.

    Users who are used to iWork can then easily disregard MS office and Wooaa laa….no need to have MS office for Mac anymore.

    Good strategy eh?

  6. I realized what a cynic I am. I focused on this sentence “Apple also agreed to give Microsoft timely access to key technologies needed to make Office for the Mac operating system, he said.” and thought Redmond continue to start your copy machines. Wouldn’t they want to keep the Mac unit open at Microsoft just for continued access to code and product? But like I said initially I’ve become cynical.

  7. i think that now Stevie has a 5 year commitment from microsoft, we will see an Apple challenge on the office suite, with its own software. microsoft will be powerles to threaten to scrap office. And in five years time microsoft office will irrelivant, as will microsoft.

    way to go Stevie

  8. MS has always extended the agreements in 5 yrs increments. Office for the Mac is very critical app and Steve would say so himself. iWork doesn’t compare in overall features but it is easy and clean.

    Office is MS’s most important app. Having a mac version prevents another competitor from building an office suite that can take over the mac platform and then go after the windows market.

    Not to mention that MS makes millions of dollars of Office for the Mac. Office for the Mac isn’t going away anytime soon.

  9. This raises the serious question of whether iWork is really nothing more than the anemic successor to AppleWorks rather than a robust alternative to MS Office. This question is key for me because it would tell me if Apple seriously intends to contend with Microsoft or whether the iPod is its real future. If it doesn’t break the dependence of Microsoft, it will have much more trouble floating. There is NOTHING that compares with MS Office for the Mac, NOTHING! It’s too bad really.

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