July 15th 2002
By Mike Flaminio
Microsoft has blamed Apple for sluggish sales of Office v.X, according to a story at the Wall Street Journal
As the 1997 Apple-Microsoft agreement is set to expire this year, MacBU General Manager Kevin Browne said to the WSJ that there will need to be a substantial turnaround before the BU can commit to editions of Office X beyond the next version slated, Office 2003.
Browne implicitly blames Apple's marketing for the shortfalls in v.X sales. with only 300,000 copies sold to date, compared with sales projections of three-quarters of a million. Conversely, Office 98 and 2001 sold over 2.5 million copies.
In Apple's defense, VP of Product Marketing Worldwide, Phil Schiller, said Mac users moving to OS X should go into a "steep climb". In the article, Schiller says the preloading of OS X, as well as the 'swtichers' ad campaign shows Apple is "doing plenty" to market OS X. Schiller says he anticipates there will be around 5 million OS X users by year's end.
Analysis: If Microsoft had wanted to hedge its bets, it should have released Office X as a Carbon application that was capable of running in OS 9. At least that would have given OS 9 users an upgrade path.
Kevin Browne's previous posturings about being "committed" to the Mac market and "not needing a new agreement" have been revealed as just that - posturings. His commitment to the MacBU and the Mac market will probably last as long as it takes to get promoted out of that place. Maybe Ben Waldman, his predecessor, was committed to the Mac - he was strong enough to tough out Gates' displeasure over Office 4.2 and stay in charge of Mac development.
The point that Browne seems to miss is that sales are flat. Everywhere. Or hasn't MS noticed XP isn't their most successful OS ever?
And how many ads for Office X have you seen on TV anyway?