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[Comments] Office 2001: Apple in Bed with the Devil? [UPDATED]

Friday, October 13, 2000

By Senior Editor John H. Farr

On this Friday the 13th, a friend has just pointed out something very disconcerting in the hoopla over Microsoft's Office 2001 for the Mac. What we may have here is an Office Lite version that Redmond is only too happy to promote. What do you think?

Our correspondent is upset because the thrust of Microsoft's and Apple's marketing is to downgrade the concept of the Macintosh as a business machine. This may or may not be bad for Apple's bottom line, but the heavy-handed niche defining going on is bound to affect people's perceptions in the future. Surely the education market for one will be less inclined to purchase systems that are not positioned to serve as serious business machines. Here is the relevant paragraph from the ZDNet article we are referencing:

"He said Apple's consumer inroads helped inspire Microsoft to reposition the Mac version of Office from a business-productivity suite to a home and personal information tool set [our emphasis]. In addition, Browne said, the Internet's gains since the introduction of Office 98 led the MBU to add Entourage, an e-mail and personal information manager, to the traditional Office set of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. 'It's more about communication and personal productivity,' he said."

Our correspondent wrote:

"You and I know it is a superior business machine, but this development sucks. This article shows a very condesending stance by Microsoft toward the poor but popular little Macintosh computer that is only good-enough-for-the-home-and-it-had-better-stay-out-of-the-business-market."

[At first we gently admonished the gentleman for reacting so strongly, saying that Apple "is only a brand" and everyone's egos should be detached from something so impersonal. But then we read the article ourselves! And considering the generally "Oh boy wow" attitude at most Mac sites regarding this software suite, the overall effect of this insight is to leave us exercised as well. -- JHF]

UPDATE: 12:57 p.m. MDT -- Dear readers: we have just been reminded that none other than the BOSS hisself (Steve Jobs) recently told Fortune magazine that Apple wasn't emphasizing the enterprise market these days. That being the case, let the Office Lites roll! It still feels a little squirmy to us, though. . .and we wouldn't have any of Mr. Gates applications on our own computer anyway. [Bias is actually rather delicious when it doesn't hurt anyone except us and a silly billionaire.:-) -- JHF]