Should Microsoft continue supporting the Mac?

  • Posted: 31 January 2002 07:30 AM

    David Coursey asked that question yesterday in a ZDNet column and explains his thoughts.

    Check here: http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/story/0,10738,2843297,00.html

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  • Posted: 29 January 2002 03:35 AM #1

    I’m starting to like this guy more with every article I read.  It is true that, apart from IE and MS Office, the rest of MS’s Mac portfolio is decidedly lack-lustre.

    Another question, though, is whether we really need those apps. Personally, I can live perfectly happy without WIMP (Windows Media Player) and MSN Messenger on my machine. MS Exchange support would be nice though…

    On the other hand, at least we HAVE those apps in one form or another, which is more than can be said of Linux.

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  • Posted: 29 January 2002 09:58 AM #2

    Part of me says that MS must support the Mac platform, because *not* to do so would be a blatant effort to take OS market share from Apple by further reducing the number of available apps for the platform. 

    On the other hand, the void created by the departure of MS from the Mac platform would be *immediately* filled by other products that may be looking for traction in their efforts to compete with MS.  It *might* be the springboard some other company needs to really compete with Office or whatever.

    Hmmm.

         
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    Posted: 29 January 2002 10:39 AM #3

    I actually disagree pagefault; If Office for the Mac was pulled, Mac sales would suffer greatly.  Due to Microsoft’s unethical and immoral business practices during the last umpteen years, there are no real alternatives to Office, especially in terms of perceived value and mindshare.

    Microsoft will stick with the Mac for three reasons above the good ones mentioned by Vern:  1.)  The company makes a ton of money off of its Mac sales. 2.) The company wants a toehold in every market, and if the Mac is going to grow, MS wants to make money on it. 3.) Bill Gates has a serious case of hero-worship for Steve Jobs.  Seriously.

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  • Posted: 29 January 2002 10:45 AM #4

    On 2002-01-29 14:39, Bryan wrote:
    I actually disagree pagefault; If Office for the Mac was pulled, Mac sales would suffer greatly.  Due to Microsoft’s unethical and immoral business practices during the last umpteen years, there are no real alternatives to Office, especially in terms of perceived value and mindshare.

    Ah.  But you do not disagree with me.  You agree with my first thought and not my second.  I tend to agree, but part of me still thinks someone would step up to snag that market pretty damn quick and in doing so, might gain some momentum to compete with MS Office (or any other MS product, Office was just what popped into my head) on the PC platform.

    The current lack of viable alternatives to Office (again, or whatever) creates a HUGE opportunity if that sole option disappears.  What happens to Apple market share while that new option develops and matures?  That could be ugly.  The opportunity for another company would be too great to pass up though.

         
  • Posted: 29 January 2002 11:11 AM #5

    If Apple ever want to regain a presence in business, there are four vital products that Microsoft conveniently leaves out:

    Access
    Visual Basic
    Project
    Visio

    Without these unfortunately the Mac remains dead in the water the moment you start to try to tick boxes on a tender document. I dearly wish it wasn’t.

    Microsoft needs to be forced to port VB to the Mac so that the thousands of proprietary apps out there that rely on it can also be ported. VBA should also be ported and made OSA compliant.

    Once this happens, Access, Project and Visio are obvious (and dependent) next steps. If you cast your mind back, you might remember that M$ used to make MSBasic, MSFile and Project for the Mac but discontinued them during the period between Windows 3.x and Windows 98, the time that they most exercised their monopoly power to strangle the Macintosh.

    The current minimal app support is enough to superficially fool the press and maybe the regulators, but it doesn’t help someone doing a desktop strategy.

         
  • Posted: 29 January 2002 12:12 PM #6

    On 2002-01-29 15:11, Anonymous wrote:
    there are four vital products that Microsoft conveniently leaves out:

    Access
    Visual Basic
    Project
    Visio

    I could not get through the day without Project.  I imagine I might find an alternative app, but I need *something*.  All I do, day and night, is manage projects.

    I have used Visio twice in the last year and a half.  I hate it.  If I used it more, I would look for an alternative.  If I were using a Mac, I would find an alternative or live without it.

    No Project is a serious problem though.

         
  • Posted: 29 January 2002 12:24 PM #7

    I too really like MS products on the Mac. Office is great. If IE 5 didn’t lock up so often… but that’s another rant.

    Will Redmond continue to support the Mac platform? Bryan and Vern are spot on so far, I would only add 4) Microsoft bought something like $100,000 worth of Apple non-voting stock back in the Dark Ages of Apple.

    MS is in a win-win with Apple. As long as they (Apple) remain alive, MS can 1) claim them as a non-antitrust example, 2) rip off the innovations in their OS and 3) reap some buckage from the share price.

    Will MS cut off Apple products? I don’t think so. There isn’t any reason too.

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  • Posted: 29 January 2002 12:28 PM #8

    Access

    NOOOOOOOO!
    Not Access, that sorry, half-assed excuse for a DB that half of our lower-end “clients” insist on inflicting upon us whenever they send us data. (I work as a DB programmer, by the way)

    Now, if we’d get a full-featured Sybase or Oracle solution, THEN we’d be talking…

     

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  • Posted: 29 January 2002 12:34 PM #9

    YEA, they should continue to support the Mac platform!

    After all, their Mac software sure beats out their Windows software.

    And will Microsoft stop making software for the Mac after the aggreement ends?

    Well, it seems like it. They have almost two-hundred employees in that section and they don’t see Apple as a competitor. Microsoft is not likely to do a thing.

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  • Posted: 29 January 2002 12:37 PM #10

    On 2002-01-29 16:12, pagefault wrote:

    On 2002-01-29 15:11, Anonymous wrote:
    there are four vital products that Microsoft conveniently leaves out:

    Access

    The Edsel of databases? I’ve worked with Oracle, Informix, Ingres, MySQL, I’ve fiddled with FoxPro and Clipper (long story), and even raw, native Unix databases, but if there is a worse database anywhere, anywhen, than Access, then I’ve not even heard of it.

    Visual Basic

    Pardon me while I sit here in stunned silence.

    .
    .
    .

    Thank you. Now, why would we want to open up the Mac world to VB viruses and insecurities just so we could have a tinkertoy language that cannot hold a candle to RealBasic or even Java, C++, or Objective C, particularly when there are already businesses shying away from VB and returning to Unix/C/C++ because of VB’s insecurity?

    Project
    Visio

    I could not get through the day without Project.  I imagine I might find an alternative app, but I need *something*.  All I do, day and night, is manage projects.

    I have used Visio twice in the last year and a half.  I hate it.  If I used it more, I would look for an alternative.  If I were using a Mac, I would find an alternative or live without it.

    No Project is a serious problem though.

    I pass on Project. I risk an accusation of flamebait, but I’ve found all Project Management software to be no substitute for common sense and due diligence. Visio is ... okay, but I’ve only used it when I’ve been forced to use it. I’ve never really found enough in it to justify the cost.

     

     

     

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  • Posted: 29 January 2002 01:07 PM #11

    On 2002-01-29 16:37, tbone1 wrote:

    I pass on Project. I risk an accusation of flamebait, but I’ve found all Project Management software to be no substitute for common sense and due diligence.

    I disagree.  Each point of our development process requires specific actions by specific people.  If our customer wants XYZ functionality by June 1, it is very helpful to be able to point them to a mapped out project plan and say “This is where we are.  We are waiting for your approval to move on to the next step.  If you take a month to agree on this piece, we are going to overshoot June 1 by two and a half weeks.”

    This goes for *EVERYONE* involved in the project.  I have to get specific pieces for each project from any number of people over whom I have no real control; some are in other departments, some are at other companies.  Some are at competing companies.  If I am waiting for a competitor to deliver an API and they are dragging their feet, it is nice to be able to show how this will impact the delivery date.

    Without a project map, I can say that this delay will cost us a month, but nobody really sees any meaning in that, because they do not see the planning that went into determining the release date.  They do not understand all of the dependencies along the way.  When you can show them the map and ask, “OK, where would you like me to cut corners to make up for this delay?” it gives you the teeth you need to manage the project.

    There are tons of other reasons I rely on it, but that is the big one.  I have to coordinate the efforts of anywhere from 15 to 100+ people, none of whom report to me.  I need to be able to clearly show who is on schedule and who is not and exactly how it impacts the project.

         
  • Posted: 29 January 2002 02:47 PM #12

    Just wanted to chime in too that Access is the worst piece of trash DB in existence (well, I’m not a big FoxPro fan either, at least in terms of sql-compliance).

    The real problem with MS’ Monopoly is that low end users use it, and MS blatantly refuses to make their products cross compatible to an extent that is worthwhile. Even when you do take data in and out of MS apps you often lose or gain formatting that won’t translate to the final product.

    The worst is MS Publisher. No Mac App can convert the file and it has very few export options.

    If you need a project manager, do it in FMP. I threw together a project management DB in FMP for work and now even PC users (the sales side of my comp) can check their project status using the web interface.

    One thing I would like to figure out in FMP (not to derail the topic here) is how to pass Quark data into an FMP database and then out again. I’ve tried doing it with the “express tags” deal in Quark, but I can’t bring it back in that way. I’ve heard alot about using XML, and I’m willing to try it, but can I convert back to quark from a database?

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  • Posted: 29 January 2002 03:05 PM #13

    FMP?

         
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    Posted: 29 January 2002 04:43 PM #14

    FMP = FileMaker Pro

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  • Posted: 29 January 2002 06:43 PM #15

    I must chime in on MS Publisher

    MS Publisher is a joke. Nobody in the design/publishing industry likes it or takes it seriously. THe sole reason we have a PC in our shop is because of MS publisher. Word/Excel/Powerpoint can be done on the Mac, but some guy comes in with a publisher file, and that’s a segment of business we can’t let go due to the nature of our shop. I don’t expect them to have Quark XPress or Adobe InDesign, but sometimes accepting actual laid out files is a problem because they don’t know our equipments limitations, etc. THe best idea is if they let me do it and consult with me on it so I do the job the way they want it - that way we save the most time and money because I know what the hell I’m doing.

    The reason I hate it is because it does so many things in ass-backwards ways that make my job much harder, thusly making me spend more time in it and costs my customer and myself time and money. Sometimes it isn’t worth it. If we could at least have an MSP to Quark/Indesign/Pagemaker converter… Jerks.

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