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View Full Version : Bye-Bye Mac Business Unit?


rontheancient
Aug 13, 2006, 01:18 AM
This idea just came up in my head when I was watching WWDC 2005 and the Microsoft 5 year commitment.

At the end of the 5 year commitment by Microsoft to make Office for Mac, Microsoft could kill the Mac Business unit. I came up with this from seeing that Microsoft recently killed all but one of the popular apps for Mac (IE, VPC, and WMP). The transition to Intel, a growing features list in OS X, and a higher marketshare of the Mac has produced more competition for Microsoft could give them the incentive to abandon MBU. Also, Gates will leave in 2008/2009, just before the MBU commitment ends in 2010, possibly leaving Steve Balmer at the top, who is much more committed to Windows and anti-iPod not to mention a bit loose in the head which brings up the possibility that he could end the MBU and shift resources to developing Windows. In short, Microsoft might go on the offensive of the Mac vs. PC competition and use its control of Office (a app that would be important to many switchers) to hurt Mac growth and increase usage of Windows.

This means that now is a great time to switch to Mac with better performance, reliability and safety along with Office and Boot Camp. This also means that if Microsoft kills MBU and Office for Mac, it will hit the Mac hard (possibly resulting in reverse switch in customers), leaving a window of opportunity for Apple.

Apple could have seen what Microsoft was going to do and recognized that window of opportunity which could expain the recent introduction of the Mac vs. PC ads, Boot Camp, and increasing features in iWork to increase switchings and comphensate for an absence of Office for Mac.

I just thought of this and I would cringe at the idea of no office for Mac, so please dont flame me!

bousozoku
Aug 13, 2006, 01:41 AM
They already said months ago that they would continue to produce products for Mac.

Sun Baked
Aug 13, 2006, 01:49 AM
They already said months ago that they would continue to produce products for Mac.As long as the MacBU continues to make a profit ...

If people switch to running Office XP under a virtual machine or WINE and stop buying the Mac version, things could change real quick.

This next version of Mac Office should tell the tale.

kristiano
Aug 13, 2006, 02:00 AM
I think MS has the largest number of engineers working on Apple-related technology outside of Apple. There's still business yet.

I'd want to use Word in its native OS X environment and not in Bootcamp or whatever.

LeeTom
Aug 13, 2006, 02:02 AM
I see the Office thing as being less and less relevant. OpenOffice.org, iWork, Google's Writely and Spreadsheets, and Microsoft's adoption of an open document format make for a much weaker hold on the market in 5 years.

Video codecs are much less of a problem now, as many websites are switching to Flash players for video, and the adoption of recent video standards such as H.264.

Plus, the switch to Intel processors means not only BootCamp or Parallels, but the possibility of running Windows applications without installing Windows in five years. It's already possible, but could be very slick come 2011.

Just look at OS X 5 years back... There wasn't even Photoshop yet, and most people ran OS 9 on G3 processors. Internet Explorer was the browser of choice. 'nuff said.

bousozoku
Aug 13, 2006, 02:35 AM
I think MS has the largest number of engineers working on Apple-related technology outside of Apple. There's still business yet.

I'd want to use Word in its native OS X environment and not in Bootcamp or whatever.

So would I. I just wish that they'd actually create a native application so that they can take advantage of ATSUI language support so languages other than English aren't second class citizens to Office. (After all, they take advantage of anything else they can, right?)

Flowbee
Aug 13, 2006, 02:43 AM
I'm also guessing that the Mac Business Unit is a good way for MS to keep their foot in the door regarding new OS X development and technologies. I'm sure they enjoy favored developer status and probably didn't have to wait until WWDC for their Leopard preview. Keep your friends close and your competitors closer...

rontheancient
Aug 13, 2006, 02:45 AM
They already said months ago that they would continue to produce products for Mac.

I think there was a written agreement between Apple and Microsoft that would keep development of Mac products for five years from 2005. After that, its up to Microsoft to make (or accept) another agreement with Apple. The possibility that Microsoft will continue with another agreement in 2010 is just as high as if they did what I said earlier, but im just wondering why MBU killed all but two software offerings for Mac. Call me paranoid but its sounds like Microsoft is about to go on the offensive and using Office as leverage.

miloblithe
Aug 13, 2006, 02:55 AM
Well, VPC was useless considering Bootcamp, Parallels, and whatever else Apple has up its sleave are on the horizon, and IE is/was only used by a small percentage of mac users, and it's a free program anyway. Office is completely different. It's a very expensive set of programs that generates a ton of revenue. Apple increasing its market share only makes it less likely Microsoft would stop making mac software.

bousozoku
Aug 13, 2006, 03:07 AM
I think there was a written agreement between Apple and Microsoft that would keep development of Mac products for five years from 2005. After that, its up to Microsoft to make (or accept) another agreement with Apple. The possibility that Microsoft will continue with another agreement in 2010 is just as high as if they did what I said earlier, but im just wondering why MBU killed all but two software offerings for Mac. Call me paranoid but its sounds like Microsoft is about to go on the offensive, which kinda started when those "a world of software and devices that run on Windows" commercials aired.

They pledged support way back then and they pledged support again after the five years were done. There was no written agreement.

Virtual PC as is made no sense to continue. They could have gone with someone similar to Virtual PC for Windows but it's like Parallels and VMWare's offerings and makes no sense since it didn't do that well.

As far as Windows Media Player, it was free software and it was costing them money to maintain and they had no reason to keep it going. By funding Flip4Mac, they could direct development effort where it was needed while maintaining the meager ability to play Windows Media files.

rontheancient
Aug 13, 2006, 03:22 AM
There was no written agreement.


From Mactopia...

SAN FRANCISCO — Jan. 10, 2006 — Microsoft Corp.’s Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) today announced at Macworld Conference & Expo 2006 a formal five-year agreement that reinforces Microsoft’s plans to develop Microsoft® Office for Mac software for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs.

After five years, Microsoft can do whatever they want. But I can see the practicality of pulling VPC and WMP.

Applespider
Aug 13, 2006, 03:26 AM
As far as Windows Media Player, it was free software and it was costing them money to maintain and they had no reason to keep it going. By funding Flip4Mac, they could direct development effort where it was needed while maintaining the meager ability to play Windows Media files.

And have they given Flip4Mac access to their code so that they have the opportunity to add support for those WMA files that F4M can't play? While it's free software on both platforms, there are many broadcasters who have licensed WMA (protected) to distribute their video content. Those of us with Macs can't watch it. I'm sorry but if MS are touting their product to broadcasters as the perfect vehicle for video, they should be providing cross platform support for it. Apple appear to focused on the US at the moment and their failure to release Fairplay is resulting in the on-demand services in the UK, at least, being entirely WMA led.

bousozoku
Aug 13, 2006, 03:59 AM
From Mactopia...

SAN FRANCISCO — Jan. 10, 2006 — Microsoft Corp.’s Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) today announced at Macworld Conference & Expo 2006 a formal five-year agreement that reinforces Microsoft’s plans to develop Microsoft® Office for Mac software for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs.

After five years, Microsoft can do whatever they want. But I can see the practicality of pulling VPC and WMP.

They could always do whatever they wanted. No legal agreement or a formal agreement, which meant nothing, would keep Microsoft from being Microsoft. They make lots of money from MS Office. They were going to continue it regardless.

And have they given Flip4Mac access to their code so that they have the opportunity to add support for those WMA files that F4M can't play? While it's free software on both platforms, there are many broadcasters who have licensed WMA (protected) to distribute their video content. Those of us with Macs can't watch it. I'm sorry but if MS are touting their product to broadcasters as the perfect vehicle for video, they should be providing cross platform support for it. Apple appear to focused on the US at the moment and their failure to release Fairplay is resulting in the on-demand services in the UK, at least, being entirely WMA led.

Of course, they're not giving anyone else access to WMP10 code. They want to keep that advantage.

If Apple had half a brain, they'd release QuickTime for Linux to push Windows Media away. There would be terrible issues concerning supporting Linux but I'm not sure it would be expected.

LoveMacMini
Aug 13, 2006, 04:03 AM
You realize that for every 2 Mac's Apple sells Microsoft sells a copy of Office for Mac.

They will never stop making that since it's making them some serious cash. Let's be serious too, the whole world uses Office.

So while IE and Virtual PC and Media Player aren't used anymore, it's because they have very little numbers.

I mean seriously, how many people would have willingly installed IE on their Mac?

Office is Microsoft's golden jewel, and it will be made for the Mac indefinitly.

Chaszmyr
Aug 13, 2006, 04:15 AM
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the MBU dissolved in 2010, but I think Apple will be ready for it, and I say good riddance to Microsoft.

Office is Microsoft's only remaining Mac product, as far as I know, and while iWork does not yet compete with Office directly, iWork 07 should be a very solid product, and by 2010 iWork should be able to replace Office for 99.9% of users.

JRM PowerPod
Aug 13, 2006, 04:38 AM
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the MBU dissolved in 2010, but I think Apple will be ready for it, and I say good riddance to Microsoft.

Office is Microsoft's only remaining Mac product, as far as I know, and while iWork does not yet compete with Office directly, iWork 07 should be a very solid product, and by 2010 iWork should be able to replace Office for 99.9% of users.

Lets face it, if Office 2007 is released on mac, how much more can Word, Excel and the likes improve over the years when the MBU is (if) discontinued, if worse comes to worst we can run pirated versions through Parallels in protest to Microsoft's choice not to support our platform

iMeowbot
Aug 13, 2006, 05:06 AM
MS did just recently introduce a new Mac hardware product, this thing (http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=078). Messenger is still kicking too.

I'm not sure I'd read too much into the retirement of redundant freebies, and VPC on Macintel would be an entry to a small market that's already well covered.

Chaszmyr
Aug 13, 2006, 05:24 AM
I'm not sure I'd read too much into the retirement of redundant freebies, and VPC on Macintel would be an entry to a small market that's already well covered.

That may be so, but by the time iWork 08 rolls around (if not before then) I think Microsoft will see a sharp decline in Mac Office sales.

dextertangocci
Aug 13, 2006, 05:59 AM
I don't care. My Mac is COMPLETELY M$ free (including their fonts):D

Chaszmyr
Aug 13, 2006, 06:22 AM
I don't care. My Mac is COMPLETELY M$ free (including their fonts):D

Have you searched for Microsoft with spotlight to make sure nothing comes up? I bet a bunch of stuff does ;)

Sun Baked
Aug 13, 2006, 06:28 AM
That may be so, but by the time iWork 08 rolls around (if not before then) I think Microsoft will see a sharp decline in Mac Office sales.About the only thing Apple lacks is the spreadsheet, Filemaker Jr., and an expanded iCal.

So in reality, they lack a spreadsheet and have most everything else.

miniConvert
Aug 13, 2006, 06:34 AM
I think it's important that the two companies keep working together, Office or no Office. Like it or not, Microsoft's operating system is, and still will be in 5 years time, the dominant force in computing. Cross-compatibility only helps Apple's case, and over the last five years we've seen the fruits of Microsoft stepping up to stop Apple from becoming a crumble.

Apple took the Anti-Redmond sentiment too far at the recent WWDC. Life may be on-the-up for Apple these days, but there's no need to burn bridges.

On the other hand, when Microsoft Office is shipping with open file formats there's really nothing to stop Apple investing in its own suite of similar applications. But would that be money well spent when Office is already so capable and simply nurturing a friendship could keep it on OS X?

Chaszmyr
Aug 13, 2006, 06:57 AM
Apple took the Anti-Redmond sentiment too far at the recent WWDC. Life may be on-the-up for Apple these days, but there's no need to burn bridges.

On the other hand, when Microsoft Office is shipping with open file formats there's really nothing to stop Apple investing in its own suite of similar applications. But would that be money well spent when Office is already so capable and simply nurturing a friendship could keep it on OS X?

Apple is fully capable of making products that are compatible with Microsoft's without Microsoft lending any further support. As for the "would that be money well spent" comment, of course it would. It would be an investment on Apple's part to expand Apple's profits. Moreover, not only would Apple benefit, but consumers would as well, considering iWork is much less expensive than Microsoft Office.

Sun Baked
Aug 13, 2006, 07:02 AM
Apple is fully capable of making products that are compatible with Microsoft's without Microsoft lending any further support. As for the "would that be money well spent" comment, of course it would. It would be an investment on Apple's part to expand Apple's profits. Moreover, not only would Apple benefit, but consumers would as well, considering iWork is much less expensive than Microsoft Office.Apple would really benefit if they added the spreadsheet and FileMaker Lite and ported iWork to Windows, keeping the entire thing between $99 and $199.

Applespider
Aug 13, 2006, 07:50 AM
The need for Office has more to do with consumer expectations than what many actually need... It's a security blanket more than anything else. The biggest question I get asked when anyone talks about possibly switching is what they do with their old files.

They want to know that they can see that stupid Powerpoint joke that someone has sent them through on email and not be left out of the loop.

Or know that if they want to work at home on something, they can safely send something through in Excel/Word and re-open it when they get back to the office.

iGary
Aug 13, 2006, 07:55 AM
The need for Office has more to do with consumer expectations than what many actually need... It's a security blanket more than anything else. The biggest question I get asked when anyone talks about possibly switching is what they do with their old files.

They want to know that they can see that stupid Powerpoint joke that someone has sent them through on email and not be left out of the loop.

Or know that if they want to work at home on something, they can safely send something through in Excel/Word and re-open it when they get back to the office.

You are absolutely right. I was reluctant to move to Pages, but after trying it, I ended up buying it and it's all I use now - and it exports perfectly to Word for all my stupid PC clients. If Apple comes out with a spreadsheet app, I am all set.

dextertangocci
Aug 13, 2006, 03:03 PM
Have you searched for Microsoft with spotlight to make sure nothing comes up? I bet a bunch of stuff does ;)

Yes, you're right, when I type in microsoft, a whole lot of articles about how M$ has stuffed up in something, or how Vista got hacked at that hacker conference recently etc, that I saved. Other than that, nothing:D