Someone once said you keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. So we have a situation where Apple’s biggest rival — not including Google of course — remains Microsoft, yet Microsoft continues to create products that run on the Mac. There’s even talk of a version of Office that will be designed specifically for the iPad, no doubt to compete with iWork.
In announcing Office 2011 for the Mac, due out before the end of the year, Microsoft once again boasted about the arrival of Outlook for the Mac platform after all these years. You have to wonder why they’re so late to the party and chose instead to saddle us with the mostly inferior Entourage.
What Microsoft doesn’t want you to remember, however, is that there was once another Mac version of Outlook, an expanded version of Outlook Express, which was available towards the end of the Classic Mac OS era. However, it doesn’t matter so much what features that app contained and what it lacked. You have to wonder why it has taken so long for Outlook to return, and why Microsoft wants us to pretend its predecessor didn’t exist.
It’s fair to say that Office has been a major cash cow for Microsoft both on the Windows and Mac platforms. Indeed, it’s reported that sales of the Mac version remain in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which is surely a huge incentive for its continued existence. At the same time, the Mac development team, known as the Mac Business Unit, is reputed to be the largest collection of Mac programmers on the planet outside of Apple.
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