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[P]
Microsoft to Port Office to Mac OS X

By Carnage4Life in MLP
Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:46:49 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

Here's an article on Yahoo from Reuters that states that in an astonishing move, Kevin Browne, general manager of Microsoft's Macintosh unit, told an audience at the Macworld Expo that there would be a port of Office 2001 to Mac OS X.


What is particularly interesting is that the move seems to be in direct conflict with the Operating System Division as can be seen from this quote from the article.

``Microsoft loves OS X, at least our division does. Other divisions might be sweating a bit,'' Browne said, in a joking reference to Microsoft's Windows operating system that competes with Apple products.

Is this a sign of things to come i.e. are the various divisions simply preparing themselves for the court mandated split or is this simply an abberation?

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Microsoft to Port Office to Mac OS X | 37 comments (29 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Microsoft /owns/ Apple, so why not? (3.16 / 6) (#3)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:20:17 PM EST

Well, they at least own $150M or so of non-voting Apple stock. IIRC, Microsoft bought a huge chunk of Apple to (1) settle litigation and (2) get Apple to stop loading Netscape Navigator as the default browser in MacOS.

Office has long been available on Macs, MS Office 98 supposedly (I don't know this from personal experience) offered many, many benefits to Mac users that Office 97 for Win-ever didn't have. I do know that the version of Microsoft Internet Exploder on the Mac is head and heals better than what is currently avalable for Win-ever.

I'm not real certain how interesting MS continuing to provide Office for MacOS is, even if it is Mac OS X.

No way. (3.33 / 3) (#9)
by Hillman on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 05:21:38 PM EST

no, it's not a huge chunk. Like 5% or something. This misinformation by your local newstation, they said the same thing in my city. And I think Apple bought it back.

[ Parent ]
one person's trash is another person's treasure (4.00 / 3) (#16)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 09:24:12 PM EST

no, it's not a huge chunk.

It seems to me that 'huge chunk' is a remarkably relative term.

Like 5% or something.

Five percent of a company with the market capitalization of Apple qualifies as a huge chunk in my book. Five percent of a publically traded company is a huge chunk from the perspective of the board of directors.

This misinformation by your local newstation,

It's not misinformation, in fact, I even pointed out that the shares were non-voting. You act like I flat out state that Microsoft has a controlling interest in Apple. My point is simply that Microsoft has a vested interest in seeing Apple succeed.

I think Apple bought it back.

This would be news to me. Do you happen to have any references? It's not that I don't believe you, but that I'm interested in understanding the big picture.

[ Parent ]

one person's trash is another person's treasure (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 09:24:13 PM EST

no, it's not a huge chunk.

It seems to me that 'huge chunk' is a remarkably relative term.

Like 5% or something.

Five percent of a company with the market capitalization of Apple qualifies as a huge chunk in my book. Five percent of a publically traded company is a huge chunk from the perspective of the board of directors.

This misinformation by your local newstation,

It's not misinformation, in fact, I even pointed out that the shares were non-voting. You act like I flat out state that Microsoft has a controlling interest in Apple. My point is simply that Microsoft has a vested interest in seeing Apple succeed.

I think Apple bought it back.

This would be news to me. Do you happen to have any references? It's not that I don't believe you, but that I'm interested in understanding the big picture.

[ Parent ]

MS's investment in Apple really isn't a big deal (4.33 / 3) (#22)
by Potsy on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 03:16:27 AM EST

The stock MS owns is non-voting stock, so they basically have no power over the company.

The investment was made in 1996 as part of a settlement over patent-licensing issues. One of the other terms of the settlement was that MS gave Apple an "undisclosed sum" in return for Apple dropping patent litigation against MS. I don't know how much that "sum" was, but it was probably pretty big. As of the most recent quarter, Apple has no debt and $4 billion in cash reserves. Of course, they had no debt and a pretty big cash reserve -- about $2 billion -- before the settlement as well, so don't read too much into that number.

[ Parent ]

What's the beef? (3.00 / 6) (#5)
by itsbruce on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:37:49 PM EST

Word and IE have been available for MacOS for several years. I'd say that porting the whole of Office to the Mac would simply be recognising that they're never going to get all the computer users. Mac users aren't going to stop using Macs and MS can't sell Windows to them, so why not?

It's not the same thing as porting to Linux, which runs on Intel hardware and so competes directly with Windows. That would allow corporations to make the easy choice of installing the world's most commonly used office suite on top of a free and stable OS.

Of course, it would be a lot easier to port Office from OSX to Linux than from Windows to Linux, so they would have the option if it ever became worth it.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
OSX vs BSD interfaces (4.00 / 5) (#12)
by trhurler on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 06:38:53 PM EST

Of course, it would be a lot easier to port Office from OSX to Linux than from Windows to Linux, so they would have the option if it ever became worth it.
No, actually, it wouldn't. The programmer's interface to OSX is not the BSD programmer's interface, even though the BSD functionality is available for BSD programs. They'll be targetting the OSX interfaces, and porting that to Linux would be quite difficult unless you had a port of the GUI and OSX libraries to Linux beforehand.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Actually... (none / 0) (#35)
by pb on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:07:41 PM EST

It wouldn't surprise me if Apple *did* have this and just didn't release it. They got Linux running on PPC on top of Mach in the first place, and just didn't use it for Rhapsody/"MacOS X"/Whatever. Darwin runs on x86, as well.

I'm sure they could port it if they wanted to, but they don't. And I'm sure they think they have very good (obviously not technical) reasons for this, but they'll never get me as a customer until they (a) release an OS for x86 or (b) sell their hardware at competitive prices.

...so I'll continue to hate Apple and Microsoft for being huge, money-grubbing, hypocritical companies who don't give a damn about hackers and power users, period.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Why is this astonishing? (3.14 / 7) (#6)
by pangmaster on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:41:16 PM EST

Microsoft Office is available for the MacOS right now. In fact, the Mac version, Office 2001, was released only a few months ago and is the best Office product yet, IMHO. Additionally, the MacOS X Public Beta contains a port of Internet Explorer 5.

I don't see how this is news as every Microsoft product for the Mac could be construed as conflicting with their operating system division.
--
I don't do Windows...

maybe not astonishing, (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by misterluke on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:07:09 PM EST

but interesting that someone from within MS pretty much said that OSX is a better ( or at the ever so very least just as good ) OS than anything MS is putting out. Makes me wonder about anti-marketing-types sentiments among MS developers who have to suffer through Win like the rest of us. Hee hee.

[ Parent ]
Think about it... (3.00 / 5) (#7)
by sl4ck0ff on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:51:19 PM EST

Well, this is both interesting and pointless. It depends on your perspective...on one hand, Microsoft has been porting it's products to Apple for a little while now...But why waste the time? Thinking of how massive M$ is, they probably have a lot of developers, and therefore a lot of time...So it's no big deal, I think basically Microsoft wants as much as possible for Mac users to be bought over by this software. Kind of like a free gift...Want more? Tough, give up your Mac and buy Windoze!
/me has returned to slacking
Nothing unusual. (3.66 / 6) (#8)
by plastik55 on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:57:33 PM EST

Nothing unusual. Microsoft Word and Excel started out as Mac products, if you must remember. Their Mac software division has generally been on the ball (except for Word 6. We'll not talk about Word 6.) Office 2000 was out on Mac first; IE 5 for Mac works better then its Windows counterpart, et cetera. The thing to remember is that, aside from Microsoft being a large company, Microsoft is a LARGE company -- i.e. it has many divisions and many people working for it, doing different things.

Just because GE sells compact flourescent bulbs and fixtures doesn't mean you can't also buy incandescent bulbs from them too. No reasonable company takes such a short-sighted view to its market share.
w00t!

Word for the Mac (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by Crawling Chaos on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:16:42 AM EST

As someone who decided to use Word 3 for the Mac to write his undergrad thesis way back when, I'd take exception to the point that Word 6 was the first version of Word on the Mac to blow. In fact, it was Word 3 that clued me in to the fact that part of MS's business strategy is to charge the customer to beta test software.

The Word 4 and 5 series were both very nice on the Mac, however.

Can't post, clowns will eat me...
Can't post, clowns will eat me...
[ Parent ]

My god, people! (3.25 / 8) (#11)
by pb on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 05:43:59 PM EST

Let me please remind you all (or, rather, everyone who said MacOS) why this is a big deal.

The article said MacOS X, not MacOS. MacOS is an ancient OS designed for limited memory motorola 68k machines that has been extended past the breaking point, much like Windows was designed for 80386's with 4MB RAM at best and kludged on top of DOS (808[68], 640k at best).

MacOS X is a Unix, based around *BSD. The first big deal is that this means Microsoft might be porting Office to a Unix. Therefore, this might run at least on Linux on PPC with iBCS2. Also, Darwin has been ported to x86. Either way, Apple or Microsoft could make this whole thing work.

A lot of people have wanted Office on Unix for a long time; this could be the beginning, especially if Microsoft Apps ends up splitting away from their OS division.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall

Sorry, (4.66 / 6) (#13)
by trhurler on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 06:47:25 PM EST

but you're factually mistaken on two counts.

First off, the OSX programmer's interfaces look nothing like Unix, even though the Unix ones are still available for legacy apps. The Microsoft teams will be targetting the OSX interfaces, because they need to interact with the GUI. Porting the result or running it under emulation is simply not possible unless you get a layer that will run MacOS X's non-Darwin components on your target platform first. To be kind, that's unlikely - supposedly there are elements needed that Apple has deliberately left out of the public source release of Darwin, some of which are not documented at all in any publicly available resource - particularly certain direct-access driver support for the GUI.

Secondly, Microsoft has had IE5 on MacOS X for quite a while and has always maintained, since the settlement of the last lawsuit, that support for the Macintosh is a vital part of their applications strategy. I realize that corporatespeak isn't always true, but when it does come true, this is no cause for great shock; keep in mind that the people speaking do believe what they say, usually, and as such, it often is at least intended to come true.

As an aside, we've seen what happens when you port Microsoft apps to Unix. There was an IE for Unix for awhile. It sucked, and nobody used it. It was huge. It was slow. It crashed constantly. Surprise, surprise.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Porting methodologies... (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by pb on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 12:08:32 AM EST

Microsoft ported IE 3.0 (beta), 4.0, and 5.0 to Unix (well, HP/UX and Solaris); 5.0 is almost usable on a decent Solaris box, although it takes up a lot of resources. They were all ported with MainWin, and Microsoft bought the company after they couldn't just take away their source license, I believe. (Anticompetitive? Microsoft? Nah...)

MainWin is a tool that implements the Windows DLLs on Unix (or at least Solaris and HP/UX) much as Wine does, except that they have access to the *real* source.

Therefore, if they're porting Office with this, (and I bet they are, but I'm just guessing here) then a port to Linux should be easier than a MacOS X port. I really doubt they'll bother to optimize Office for MacOS X at the moment, but I'm sure they'll hack whatever support they need to into MainWin, possibly for the display code.

However, I didn't even try to go into detail about this in my earlier post; my big point was that Microsoft was supporting Office on a Unix for once, and not on MacOS; otherwise, they'd just tell you to run the MacOS version on MacOS X instead of porting it.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Actually, they're "carbonizing" it (5.00 / 6) (#24)
by Potsy on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:32:44 AM EST

Acutally, MS is not using a compatability layer like MainWin. They are starting with their code base for the existing MacOS version of Office, and changing it just slightly to make it work under MacOS X's "Carbon" APIs. Allow me to explain (I know these things because I work at Apple, BTW).

MacOS X contains, among other things, something called "Carbon", which is a set of APIs that are almost, but not quite, the same as the current MacOS toolbox APIs. The only difference is, since MacOS X is preemptively multi-tasked, all non-reentrant functions have been removed and replaced with reentrant ones.

The traditional MacOS has about 8000 APIs. Roughly 75-80% of those went into Carbon. New APIs (not sure how many, don't have the figure on hand) were also added to Carbon in order to cover the functionality of those traditional Mac APIs that were left out.

Carbon is designed to make porting of existing MacOS apps as easy as possible. I've "carbonized" code on many occasions, and it's really not that hard. Carbon is pretty well designed. The porting effort is quite minimal. This page should give some idea of what the task is like.

Apple also provides a library called "CarbonLib" which can be used on MacOS versions 8.6 through 9.1 to run the exact same binary of a carbonized app that runs on MacOS X. That's the whole idea behind the Carbon APIs: to provide developers with a mechanism for making an single compile of an application, and have it run on both MacOS 9 and MacOS X, while taking advantage of MacOS X's features. It's actually a very clever idea.

In any case, this won't be a head start towards a port to other Unixes, because none of them have a version of "Carbon" available. All this announcement means is that there will be a version of Office that runs on MacOS X without having to go through Apple's compatability layer for older MacOS apps (called "Classic").

[ Parent ]

Thanks, Potsy! (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by pb on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 07:37:25 AM EST

Ah, apparently I *did* assume too much... And *that's* why you know too much about PPC and m68k assembler... :)

And yes, Apple didn't include Carbon as part of Darwin, so if we wanted that, we'd have to write it ourselves, and then we'd be back to Square One.

I guess it would be better to work on a project like Sheepshaver for Linux PPC, then...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
You're welcome (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by Potsy on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:24:53 AM EST

Although I think you have me confused with this guy, with whom you had a very lengthy discussion on PPC and 68k assembly.

The interesting thing about Sheepshaver is that since it actually runs the MacOS itself, rather than an emulation layer, one could probably put CarbonLib on it, and run Carbon apps! Although that would only apply to Carbon apps in the CFM binary format. I'll bet products that are being advertised as MacOS X-only, such as Alias|wavefront's (do they still go by that name?) Maya will be in Mach-O binary format, which wouldn't help.

Besides Carbon, there is "Cocoa" (don't ask me why they decided to name it that), which is a port of all the old NeXTSTEP Objective-C APIs. Many of the little utilities and control panels in MacOS X are written against Cocoa. However, so far there have been no major third-party apps announced that are going to be written against Cocoa. I'll bet that really burns Steve and Avie up. Ha, ha!

[ Parent ]

Ah, so I have! (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by pb on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:40:42 AM EST

You are correct, sir. But don't I know you from somewhere? Maybe I just see you post all the time.

Since Sheepshaver can run MacOS, would it be capable of running MacOS X, or does that use extra unimplemented features of the platform? I haven't played around with it, since I don't have a PPC box lying around. :)

Ok, so let me get this straight: instead of coming in five Jello colors, they have three coffee-sounding APIs: Classic, Carbon, and Cocoa. Classic runs MacOS stuff, Carbon runs MacOS X stuff, and Cocoa runs NeXT stuff. And then there are the standard UNIX APIs from BSD... Note that they didn't get to use NeXTSTEP for that, either; it's a good thing, too, 'cause their Unix utils used to suck...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
"Sit on it", they said... (none / 0) (#36)
by Potsy on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 03:20:32 AM EST

But don't I know you from somewhere?

"Happy Days", maybe?

Seriously though, I have been posting a lot lately (more than I should; K5 has become a bit of a time sink for me). I let myself get sucked into the whole "Anne Marie" thing, and posted a bunch of comments regarding that. You've probably seen some of those. Also, you might be thinking of this thread.

Since Sheepshaver can run MacOS, would it be capable of running MacOS X

Actually yeah, it probably could. I don't see why not. It might take a little tweaking, but I doubt it will be that much work. If it can run MacOS, it can likely be made to run MacOS X.

Ok, so let me get this straight: instead of coming in five Jello colors, they have three coffee-sounding APIs

That's right. Although "Classic" is really just a sort of virtual machine that boots a copy of the traditional MacOS and runs it as a process under MacOS X. That way, traditional MacOS apps can run without a recompile, although they don't get the benefit of preemptive multitasking and memory protection. It's kind of like Sheepshaver, come to think of it. The difference is, it doesn't run in a window. Instead, apps running under Classic seamlessly appear side-by-side with Carbon and Cocoa apps, even though they still have the old-style MacOS "platinum" appearance.

Interesting note about Cocoa: Steve, Avie, and the rest of the ex-NeXT gang have high hopes that third-party developers will eventually adopt Cocoa as the new-and-better way of doing things. So far, it hasn't happened. In fact, a few years ago, shortly after Apple acquired NeXT (which really turned out to be the other way around), the plan for the next-gen OS was called "Rhapsody", and it didn't have anything like Carbon in it. It was just Classic and Cocoa; nothing else. They actually thought all the old NeXT APIs were so great that developers would naturally just flock to them! Ha! They found out differently when they tried to push that idea at a developer conference. Nobody went for it. After the cold reception from developers, they decided to let the Mac toolbox live on in Carbon, and so now we have the current plan.

And then there are the standard UNIX APIs from BSD... Note that they didn't get to use NeXTSTEP for that, either; it's a good thing, too, 'cause their Unix utils used to suck...

You mean NeXT originally wrote their own versions of the standard Unix utils? Wow. I could have sworn they always just used the BSD ones.

In any case, I'm really not too keen on the design of MacOS X. It's too big, bloated, slow, throws away too many of the things that Mac users like, and adds a bunch of unnecessary crap that they probably won't like. The sad part is, it didn't have to be this way. See this comment of mine for more info.

[ Parent ]

This Space Intentionally Left Blank (none / 0) (#37)
by pb on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 01:29:32 PM EST

Yeah, first Slashdot and then K5 have been time sinks for me, but they only really steal free time. Mostly. :)

Whatever they used for the NeXT GUI Toolkit is ugly; I can't stand those ported NeXT apps. I was disgusted when someone was talking about how *great* the new file browser was--it looks like xfm or something.

The Fuzz testing from 1995 is what I was referring to; they tested NeXTSTEP 3.2, and a bunch of other UNIXes...

I haven't used MacOS X much--I played with MacOS X Server a little, and it looked fairly neet, but I think it was running on some decent Macs, too. It looks like bloated is the way of the future, what with W2K, and maybe even Linux eventually. I was disappointed when I couldn't use a standard RH7 boot disk in my 486--it was compiled for Pentium and up...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

IE on Unix (4.00 / 3) (#33)
by itsbruce on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:57:25 AM EST

There was an IE for Unix for awhile. It sucked, and nobody used it. It was huge. It was slow. It crashed constantly.

Quite unlike Netscape for Unix, then.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
Why is this a big deal? (3.33 / 3) (#15)
by aphrael on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 08:31:48 PM EST

MS Office has been the dominant office product on the mac platform since the beginning of time.

Microsoft on Mac since the begining (4.33 / 3) (#19)
by paulT on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 11:52:13 PM EST

Going from memory here so I may not be bang on everything:

AFAIK, Word and Excel were in development originally as Macintosh products while the Macintosh was in initial development in 1983. This would make them Mac products before Windows even existed.

Since that time there have always been versions of Word and Excel for the Mac. In 1998 Office 98 for the Mac was released with Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

For Email, Outlook Express for Mac has been around for a number of years.

Office:Mac 2001 was released this fall with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Entourage. Entourage is a full featured PIM (email, calender, todo, notes, etc) similar to Outlook. Single user only. Outlook for Mac that can connect to Exchange servers has been around for awhile but I've never used it and never heard anything very good about it.

Of note: the Office product on Mac is not a port. It is written native on the Mac to be compatible with Office on the Windows side.

So the fact that MS is going to moving Office to OS X is not suprising. 25 million users is nothing to turn ones nose up at when you own the market and there is a potential competitor (StarOffice) coming.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
Of note... (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by PhadeRunner on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:04:00 AM EST

"Of note: the Office product on Mac is not a port. It is written native on the Mac to be compatible with Office on the Windows side."

So its a port then...

[ Parent ]

Re: Of Note... (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by paulT on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:28:23 AM EST

"Of note: the Office product on Mac is not a port. It is written native on the Mac to be compatible with Office on the Windows side."

So its a port then...


I guess it depends on what you call a port. I consider a port to be taking existing code and altering as necessary to work on another platform.

As I understand it Office 98 and 2001 were written from scratch for MacOS. The final product is very similar to the Windows product but "under the hood" is all different code.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (3.66 / 3) (#21)
by adamsc on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 02:52:36 AM EST

<SmartAss>
Have you tried the OS X betas? It needs bleeding edge hardware to power animations, enormous icons and gratuitous special effects[1]. It manages to cancel out an much better OS by burying it under at lame interface with a clunky, semi-usable desktop.

Microsoft will be right at home...
</SmartAss>

On a more serious note while it's need that they'll be working on a BSD OS, I doubt they'll be working below the Carbon API level. This will not result in much progress for a Unix port...

[1] It got extensive criticism in our strongly Mac-loyalist design department. This does not bode well.

Wait, wait (3.50 / 4) (#28)
by Anonymous 7324 on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:06:42 AM EST

They made Office 98 for Mac, right? Why _wouldn't_ they make Office 2k1 or whatever for os X for the same reasons?

Microsoft to Port Office to Mac OS X | 37 comments (29 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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