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Newsletter #410 Preview:
Is This What Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit Means by “Innovation”?

To many of you, the Mac programmers over at Microsoft are the company’s shining stars. Although they labor within the confines of a byzantine bureaucracy and strangely wrong-headed policies, they are not supposed to be drinking the company’s kool-aid. Rather, they’re supposed to be devoted Mac users who have carved out a solid niche where creativity reigns supreme.

Now that may be true to a large extent. I do think that the Mac BU tries really hard to deliver great software, within the serious constraints imposed on them by their employer. On the other hand, this also means that they live with assumptions that may not be entirely realistic.

It is perfectly true that, in developing Office for the Mac, they have a set of contradictory goals. One, of course, is to maintain full or virtually full compatibility with Office for Windows. But, as they learned with the infamous Word 6 in the last decade, you cannot build a Mac application and make it look like you’ve exited Apple’s universe and entered Microsoft’s.

We Mac users are quite demanding of certain constants, on of which, of course, is that a Mac application, for the most part, adhere to the conventions of the platform. In other words, it must be “Mac like,” to use the Microsoft parlance that implies a resemblance but not necessarily a reality.

I am concerned whether they have really considered the implications of that phrase.

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.