Microsoft Exec Takes Issue With OS X Marketing, Suggest Possible End Of Office v. X

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Apple has a spot of enormously negative coverage from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) to kick off the week of MACWORLD Expo. The WSJ has published comments (subscription required) from Kevin Browne, the head of Microsoftis Mac Business Unit, that not only takes Apple to task for not pushing OS X on its existing user base, but also calls into question the existence of Office v. X after 2003. From the WSJ article:

But now, on the eve of an Apple-oriented trade show in New York this week, some software developers are openly questioning how many of Appleis current consumers are adopting OS X (pronounced "OS ten," reflecting the Roman numeral) and saying the operating system has been a huge business disappointment. The upshot: Some of these developers may ultimately reassess whether to continue doing business with Apple.

Chief among the worriers: Microsoft, whose Office software has long been pivotal to the Macintosh. Microsoft says sales of a version of Office specially tailored for OS X-equipped Macintoshes have been sluggish, totaling only 300,000 copies since it was released in November -- behind the pace of the 750,000 it had expected over the first year.

Microsoft blames Apple. "There hasnit been a concerted effort to promote Mac OS X, even though the opportunity is there and our willingness is there," says Kevin Browne, who heads Microsoftis Macintosh Business Unit.

Mr. Browne says Microsoft is committed to delivering another version of Office for Macintosh in 2003. But beyond that, he says, "itis harder to predict. If things donit dramatically turn around, weill be evaluating this business with Apple."

Not so, says Appleis Phil Schiller, who went on to tell the WSJ that OS X adoptions continues apace, and that Microsoft should look to the price tag of Office v. X if it is wondering why sales are sluggish.

Phil Schiller, Appleis senior vice president of world-wide product marketing, says Microsoftis anxieties about OS Xis progress are "very, very misplaced." He argues that the majority of Appleis software partners are pleased with sales of OS X, for which around 4,000 applications are now available.

Mr. Schiller says Microsoft "should look inward" for the reasons why Office X isnit faring well. He suggests one cause: Microsoft priced the software at $499 -- too expensive, in his opinion.

The article also discusses comments from Adobe (who is pleased with its Mac sales), Corel, and others in the industry. Our friends at MacCentral have published a mention of this story that includes facts and figures from a survey conducted by MacCentral. We would also like to thank our friends at MacMinute for the heads up on this article.

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