Monday, July 15, 2002

Office for Mac OS X Microsoft's threatened to cut support for Office on Apple because of dissappointingly low sales. It was received wisdom in thoughtul Mac circles that Microsoft could kill Apple whenever they wanted simply by cutting Office support, but now they're threatening to I don't feel that worried.

Mac:Office X costs $500 for home users, increasing the cost of a low end system by 50%. In return you get to continue to swap the same old word processing files with friends, which is useful but offers no significant benefit beyond what was offered in Mac:Office 98. An all OS X environment is nice, but it's not worth the $500 MSFT is charging. Moreover, while upgrades are cheaper, they're still pricey and I don't know of any PC to Mac upgrade offers, which makes it harder for Windows users to switch.

OS X has 2.5M users, and Microsoft's sold 300,000 copies of Mac:Office X -- about a 10% penetration rate which at $500 isn't bad. People think Microsoft responded to the threat of the Internet by getting the world to use IE, but the real battle is over HTML, TCP/IP, FTP, SMTP, plaintext, and all the data formats people now spend most of their time with. .doc, .xls, and .ppt are simply less important than they used to be, and "good enough" open office compatibility will reduce Microsoft's power to price these applications high.

So I guess the real reason I'm not worried if Microsoft pulls support for Mac:Office is because I think Mac:Office X (which I get cheap because I'm a student) is the last copy of Microsoft Office I'll ever need to buy.


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