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Mainstream Opinions Lean Towards The Idea That Apple Is Directly Challenging Microsoft

Mainstream Opinions Lean Towards The Idea That Apple Is Directly Challenging Microsoft

by , 4:15 PM EST, January 14th, 2003

While it is no surprise to many in the tech world that Microsoft and Apple have not always been the best of friends, some are beginning to sit up and take notice that the rivalry is starting to heat up again. In an article on Yahoo! Finance, the author expresses that Apple may be preparing to go on with or without Microsoft's help, after a five year deal where Microsoft agreed to provide Mac software ended in 2002.

The source of this discussion was the release of Keynote and Safari at last week's Macworld Expo. In defense of both the Safari browser and the Keynote presentation software, Apple product marketing director Peter Lowe claims that Apple is not going after Microsoft, but simply targeting areas where Apple has the potential to grow. From Yahoo! Finance:

Apple's latest software releases could ratchet up the tension. Apple's new Keynote presentation program competes with Microsoft's PowerPoint. And a new Web browser called Safari competes with Internet Explorer.

Apple claims it simply wanted to offer something superior to what was available, its executives say. Safari loads Web pages three times as fast as Internet Explorer, they say. And it provides new ways to store Web addresses. Keynote, meanwhile, offers more graphics features than current presentation programs.

Apple also wants to tap into the capabilities of its new operating system - Mac OS 10.2, better known as Jaguar. Safari does that better than Internet Explorer, and that's one of the reasons it's faster. "We designed it to take full advantage of Jaguar," said Brian Croll, Apple's senior director of software product marketing.

It's not as if Apple is snubbing Internet Explorer. Both programs appear on the Apple desktop. Users can opt to make either one their "default" browser. "We're being extremely fair-minded here," Croll said.

But Safari and Keynote could make Apple less dependent on Microsoft. If Microsoft cuts back on software development for the Mac, Apple won't be as vulnerable. And there's another side effect to Apple's efforts. It could make the Mac more of a unique entity, rather than just another platform for Microsoft products.

The article goes on to quote Microsoft and Apple representatives who say that relations between the two companies are solid. The article also Apple still relies on some of Microsoft's products being released for the Mac, and that Microsoft still makes a nice profit off of said software. You can read the entire article at Yahoo! Finance.

Articles such as a recent column by Robert X. Cringely suggest more strongly that Apple is specifically targeting Microsoft, as have other mainstream articles.

The Mac Observer Spin:

We think that the most accurate analysis of Apple's newest software offerings is that the company is indeed just trying to make sure that the Mac has all of the software it needs to be competitive. Any challenge to Microsoft is merely a by-product of that goal.

It would have been politically impossible for Apple to release a product like Safari before its agreement with Microsoft expired, and it took time and resources for Keynote to be developed. In addition, it was more important for other aspects of the Digital Hub to be developed first. In other words, it seems to us that Apple felt the Mac needed a best-in-class browser (though Safari has not yet reached that status), as well as some backups for Office, and their time has just now come. The overall goal is to simply make sure that the Mac can compete.

Time will tell if this strategy is a sound one, but we are confident that it will prove to be so.

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