MACWORLD — It’s 1997 all over again! Microsoft and Apple have renewed their marriage vows for another five years, Microsoft said on Tuesday.
Apple and Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit have signed a formal “commitment agreement” deeming Microsoft to continue developing Office for Mac for at least another five years, Microsoft said.
“We wanted to comfort our customers around the world that we are in this for the long term,” said Scott Erickson, the Mac BU’s director of product management and marketing. “It makes sense to really publicly show our commitment to the platform.”
The blissful marriage between the two companies looked rocky after Steve Jobs announced Apple will be switching to Intel chips, which may or may not also run Windows. Plus, Apple has been developing its own software to compete with applications traditionally developed for the Mac by Microsoft — Safari, Keynote, etc.
“We’ve been in the Mac software business for more than 20 years,” said Erickson. “And it’s been a great business for us.”
Erickson said the deal was signed in November 2005.
The “commitment agreement” is reminiscent of Macworld in 1997, when Bill Gates joined Steve Jobs’ keynote speech via a satellite linkup. Looming large and Big Brother-like, Gates said he was happy to invest $150 million in Apple, which was in trouble at the time, and sign a five-year commitment to continue developing Mac software.
In addition to renewing its vows, Microsoft said it will enhance Entourage in the spring. The Mac email, contact and calendar software will synchronize with iPods, among other devices.