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Unraveling the Office for Mac Withdrawal Myth
According to proponents of this myth, Microsoft is poised to drop Office for Mac, resulting in immediate devastation for the Mac platform. They're wrong; here's why.

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With alarming regularity, certain analysts keep reporting the fear that, since Microsoft has recently abandoned several Mac products, Office for Macintosh might be next. Uncertainty about the availability of Microsoft's Office for Mac purportedly casts doubt about the viability of the Mac OS X platform, providing all the components needed for a complete pile of FUD.

This all sounds very scary indeed, but it's a rather weak myth. Anyone raising it as a serious possibility should have their credibility questioned. So where did the idea come from, why is it repeated so often, and how can it be disproved?

Why the Myth was Woven
Tech writers like to bring up the Office for Mac Withdrawal Myth in order to suggest that Microsoft possesses special leverage against Apple. Purportedly, Office for Mac exists, not for Microsoft's profit, but simply as a crutch to keep the Mac upright until Microsoft deems it appropriate to yank its support and cause the Macintosh platform to vanish into oblivion.

This weaves together well with the Microsoft Invincibility Myth, but let's focus on scuttling the Office for Mac Withdrawal Myth first.

The Myth Weavers
Unlike wishful thinking-type myths, this is s FUD-type myth, so it is woven and rewoven by the usual suspects of FUD spewage: the pseudo-news outlets who publish sensationalist FUD headlines to get ad click revenue, and the tired bunch of tech columnists with no original ideas nor any real imagination, who must resort to reweaving tired old FUD to fill the space they are allotted each week.

Unraveled with Extreme Prejudice
Anyone repeating this myth has to be highly disingenuous, particularly since Steve Jobs makes a point of trotting out Microsoft's quintessentially uncharismatic Roz Ho every year at MacWorld just to dispel it. This year, Apple and Microsoft announced yet another a five year extended agreement to keep Office for Mac in development... until 2011!

If the myth spreaders would only stop, Roz could stay at home and focus on developing Mac software at Microsoft's rather extensive MacBU rather than paining herself, and the huge MacWorld audience, with her lifelessly banal shout-out to the Mac faithful every January. I'm sure she's a nice person, she just has the rah-rah stage presence of a dead hamster.

Of course, even if you ignore the explicit, public commitment by Microsoft for Office for Mac, the next problem with this myth is that Office for Mac has been making Microsoft lots of money, unlike the other Mac products they have canceled, which only served the purpose of placeholder-ware to hurt other companies.

For example, the canceled, free distribution of Internet Explorer for Mac was only useful to Microsoft until Netscape was destroyed, and any potential harm to the Windows monopoly from an emerging web platform was neutralized. With Netscape out of the picture, continued development of a free IE for Mac had little reason to exist.
Apple acknowledged this by developing its own browser for the Mac OS X platform. Upon their release of Safari, IE was so embarrassingly out of date that Microsoft could now spin a tale of being unable to compete with a bundled Apple browser, and abandon IE development without risking inquiry from the Justice Department.
Similarly, the free Windows Media Player for Mac only existed in order to establish a monopoly in media player software. After the spectacular failure of the WMP platform to take over as the sole way to listen and watch any type of digital media, the ongoing development of a free WMP for Mac standalone application was likewise abandoned.

Instead, Microsoft licensed and distributed (for free) a Windows Media codec for Apple's QuickTime as its retreat strategy. Unfortunately, Flip4Mac doesn't always work very well, but the good news is that very little desirable content exists in the non-DRM, WMP 9 format anyway.

Continued: More Nails in the Coffin


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