Apple Refutes Microsofts Mac OS X Claims

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-07-15

Apple Refutes Microsofts Mac OS X Claims

Apple Computer Inc. executives late Monday refuted Microsoft Corp. claims that its not doing enough to promote and sell Mac OS X.

"We do a tremendous amount of marketing on Mac OS X and Im proud of the progress weve made with the platform since it was introduced last May," said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, in Cupertino, Calif.

Schiller said there are about 2.5 million active customers who use Mac OS X as their primary operating system.

"That is about 10 percent of our installed base running their machines on a new operating system," Schiller said. "By the end of the year, were targeting five million users or 20 percent of our base. I dont know of anyone else whos moved over so many people so quickly."

Schillers comments came in response to comments made by Kevin Browne, general manager of Microsofts Macintosh Business unit in the Wall Street Journal Monday. Browne told the paper: "There hasnt been a concerted effort [on Apples part] to promote Mac OS, even though the opportunity is there and our willingness is there."

Browne, who has left for sabbatical and could not be reached for comment Monday, also said Microsoft has committed to one more version of Microsoft Office for the Macintosh, but could make no guarantees for supporting the Macintosh platform beyond that. Other Microsoft officials were unable to comment before this story was posted.

Schiller, however, added that Apple and Microsoft executives speak daily about different issues including sales and marketing, but that the companies have not discussed Microsofts plans to drop support for the Macintosh platform.

"Im not sure thats something they said or conjecture on the part of someone in the media," Schiller said. "We have had several discussions with Microsoft about products and marketing, and weve offered suggestions for them on how they can get more out of their investment in the Macintosh platform," Schiller said. "Im not sure of the foundation for these comments."

Meanwhile, several observers view the Microsoft comments as an attempt to snatch a bit of attention on the eve of Apples big Macworld show in New York this week.

Apple Refutes Microsofts Mac OS X Claims - Page 2

In fact, Schillers comments to eWEEK came as he rehearsed speeches he is to deliver at the show, he said.

In addition, Apple said Microsofts pricing for Office is prohibative, particularly in a slow economy.

"Its not the best economy and if people are spending between $1,000 and $1,500 for a computer, its not easy to pay another $400 or $500 for Office," Schiller said.

Apple users and developers seem to agree.

Commenting on the MacCentral comment site, one user said of Mac Office: "It costs way, way too much, $500 is entirely out of my price range. If Microsoft wants to introduce the Word/Entourage package for $99, Id pick that up in a second. Besides, Appleworks is free with the computer."

Yet, another user said: "In my opinion, Appleworks is a much nicer and easier to use product. Unfortunately, at work I am a single Mac in a Windows world, so I am forced to use Office."

Another user said Microsofts comments represent more of the kind of anti-competitive activity the company was found guilty of in its federal antitrust case.

"[Microsoft] forced Apple to make Internet Explorer the default browser in the Mac OS under the threat of discontinuing the release of Office for the Mac," a user posting on the MacCentral site said. "Now that Microsoft has succeeded in usurping the open standards upon which the World Wide Web is based, they are withdrawing support to further damage Apple."

Indeed some say Microsoft has reason to be concerned given Apples attempts to get Windows users to switch to the Macintosh through a TV advertising campaign and on the Apple Web site.

"We work hard on our switchers campaign," Schiller said. "We not only target Windows users, but also Unix users. We also do a lot to promote the Mac OS X platform to our installed base," he said in response to the complaint that Apple should be more concerned with switching its installed base to Mac OS X than switching others.

"We care a great deal about our installed base," he said, "for anyone to suggest less than that is not stating the truth. We spend more on trade shows than almost every other company. Apple MacWorld in New York is the largest computer trade show on the East Coast and that is all about Mac OS X."

Schiller said Adobe has reported positive numbers for its Mac OS X-based applications, and he said more than 4,000 applications are on the market supporting Mac OS X.

Tim McDonough, marketing director for Microsofts Macintosh Business Unit, said Microsoft thinks Mac OS X "is a great product, but we think there is more Apple could be doing to promote it to users." In addition, sounding like Apple, McDonough said Microsoft believes "we could do more to help them market the product. There are lots of opportunities there." He mentioned things like co-marketing, advertising and joint promotions.

"We are committed to the Mac business," McDonough said. "We are already working on the next version of Office and the next version of Internet Explorer for the Macintosh. Beyond that wed love to be committed and will continue to support the platform as long as there is good business for Microsoft."

McDonough said Microsoft has 145 people committed to delivering Microsoft applications on the Macintosh platform. "Wed like Apple to be successful with Mac OS X so we can be successful with Office on that platform."

He said Microsofts comments regarding Mac OS X were not an attempt to rain on Apples Macworld parade but came in response to user and media concerns over the impending conclusion of a 5-year deal Microsoft made with Apple in which the software giant made a $150 million investment in the company. That deal ends next month. "Were responding to customers, and were saying that agreement or no agreement were committed to the Macintosh platform as long as there is business for us."

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