Stop the Noiz

Apple and Microsoft: Best Friends forever?

Frank Fox - 2008.12.24 - Tip Jar

for years, developers gave the same old story that it wasn't worth developing software for Macs because the market share was too low. However, one company has developed for the Macs through it all. (That's not to say there weren't threats and bargains made to keep up support.)

Mac users actually rewarded Microsoft by having a higher purchase rate for Excel than Windows users - and nearly as high for Word at times.

Word and Excel market share on Mac and Windows, 1988 to 1997
Word and Excel market share on Mac and Windows, 1988 to 1997.

If Microsoft was making money, why not develop for the Mac?

From some of his negative comments, you might think that Steve Ballmer wants to change this policy - or at the very least that he doesn't think highly of Macs. He laughed when Apple launched the iPhone, yet the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft is going strong. They even have a nice website.

I appreciate the Mac version of Microsoft Office simply because I can transfer files between work and home with near perfect compatibility. All my charts, photos, and formatting carry over with only a rare exception. for the longest time, Office for Mac was the only source for true Microsoft Office compatibility on the Mac. OpenOffice is finally giving them some competition, which should make Microsoft try harder.

When it comes down to it, Apple is mostly a hardware company, and Microsoft is mostly a software company. It shouldn't be surprising that they find common ground for selling products to each other's customers.

Despite all the differences, these two companies still need each other.

PC word processing market share by unit sales, 1986-1997
PC word processing market share by unit sales, 1986-1997.

for years, Microsoft Word struggled against WordPerfect on the PC, but it found an instant home on the Mac. The iPod would not have become the huge hit it is today if it was kept exclusively for the Mac. Third party support is what makes the computer world work.

Mac word processor market share by units, 1988 to 1997
Mac word processor market share by units, 1988 to 1997.

Still, it came as a shock to many to see Microsoft release software for the iPhone. The Seadragon Mobile software allows for deep zoom on an image with high resolution. This software goes along with another from Microsoft, Photosynth, which takes multiple photos taken from one location and joins them together.

This bit of news is only shocking if you haven't been paying attention. Back in November 2007, there was news that Microsoft was going to allow for PowerPoint slides to port over to the iPhone as pictures. In March 2008, we learned that Microsoft was starting to use the iPhone SDK to build software. It was only a matter of time before an application found its way to the iPhone.

for all the bragging Microsoft has to do for its own Windows Mobile platform, it was going to establish a presence on the iPhone eventually.

I think it is better for consumers that these companies work together. They each have expertise in their own areas that bring value when combined.

They are Titans locked in constant struggle, but linked by partnerships.

Who needs enemies when you can have friends like these? LEM

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