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Microsoft Recommits at Apple Love Fest

The same day that Apple trotted out the first in its line of Intel-based iMacs, Microsoft recommitted to supporting Apple going forward, the company said at this week’s MacWorld in San Francisco.

Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) yesterday unveiled a new five-year agreement with Apple that reinforces Microsoft’s previously announced plans to develop Microsoft Office for Mac software for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

That’s good use for IT shops with legacy Macs, according to one analyst.

“About 21 percent of large enterprises use Mac OS X on the desktop [and] the same percentage of these businesses also use Mac Office. The deal assures these customers that Microsoft will continue to make Office available for their existing Power PC-based Macs,” Joe Wilcox, senior analyst at JupiterResearch, remarked in his Weblog.

As part of its show of reassurance, the Mac BU described a handful of updates coming to Microsoft’s Entourage 2004 for Mac information manager. For instance, the Mac BU has worked with Apple to enable Mac OS X’s Sync Services integration with Entourage. That means, Microsoft said in a statement, that customers will be able to sync their Entourage calendars, address books, notes and tasks with handheld devices that also work with Sync Services.

Microsoft also said it will release converters to enable existing versions to read Microsoft’s Office Open XML file formats.

Additionally, Messenger for Mac 5.1, due out in March, will improve security for users sending files to external contacts, and improve its ability to determine the user’s location and where to send the message if the user is logged into Microsoft Office Live Communications Server on more than one machine. In addition, IT managers will have improved control over how they save chats at an organizational level. Messenger 5.1 is expected to be released in March.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.