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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17 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Hello!!
    MS was to keep track of what Apple does.
    They will know how Apple programs work by getting “timely access to key technologies” directly from Apple.

    This is bad news. They usually had to wait until APple released a new OS to figure out what Apple is doing.

    Now they will get an early peak and they’ll know the hooks into Apple’s OS.

    Apple – finalize NUMBERS asap!
    Give us a replacement for Excel.

    Doesn’t everyone see MS secret plan to get Apple’s inside info?

  6. Matrix3 – As an Apple Developer, M$ already has access to most of this anyhow.

    Also, access to key technologies is not necessarily the same thing as access to the code.

    But i am very much of the opinion that we have this deal instead of Numbers, and perhaps other M$ killer technologies (Dharma and/or Darwine). If it were my call, i’d fire the silver bullet at the beast and hope it dies quickly, and deal with the rest as it happens. Guess that was a gamble Steve wasn’t willing to take. Oh well!

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