Monday, June 16, 2003

Microsoft breaks alliance with Apple. Last January, I wrote about Apple's announcement that it would take on Microsoft in the software arena. Now the first casualty: Microsoft will no longer develop Internet Explorer for the Macintosh.

Microsoft seems to be playing this very low-key, saying simply that Apple's Safari is all that Mac users need, and that, in any case, Web browsers have become an integrated part of the operating system. That was Bill Gates's argument during all those years of the antitrust case, and he must find it satisfying now to be able to say it about someone else -- even though the truth of that proposition was always dubious at best.

But this is actually huge news, Microsoft's first step away from Apple since Gates and Steve Jobs embraced in the late 1990s. Microsoft claims that it's not going to walk away from the really important products, such as the Mac version of Microsoft Office, but who knows? If the next version of AppleWorks is as compatible with Office as has been rumored, then all bets may be off.

I've switched to Safari for nearly all of my Web browsing, mainly because it's incredibly fast -- much faster than Explorer or Mozilla. But it's still in beta, you don't get page numbering or headers when you print (note: if I'm wrong, send directions!), and there are a few sites that it doesn't work with at all -- such as, the engine that drives Media Log. For that, I use Mozilla.

I love my new iBook, and I would hate to think that it will be my last Mac. But Microsoft's latest could be the beginning of the end for Apple.

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