On being a Macintosh girl at Microsoft

Macintosh. Microsoft. Macintosh. Microsoft. To a lot of people, it seems like these two shouldn’t go together. But, here we are: the biggest Macintosh development organisation outside of Apple, and yes, we’re at Microsoft. There’s about 180 of us, and all we do is Mac stuff.

It’s kinda strange being a Mac person at Microsoft. My machine set-up is more difficult than for the average Softie. There’s permissions and exceptions and access requests and all sorts of things to make my various Macs work happily on our network. If I’m in one of the MacBU buildings toting around my PowerBook, no-one notices. But outside of those two buildings (one at the Silicon Valley Campus in Mountain View, California; the other on our main campus in Redmond, Washington), I get strange looks. In an elevator, someone came up to me and told me that I had to be pretty special to get a PowerBook. I reminded him that Microsoft makes world-class Mac software, and someone’s gotta work on it. I had a building receptionist ask me if I needed her to call someone to come get me.

It’s also kinda strange being a Microsoft person in the Mac world. I spent all week at WWDC watching people look carefully at my badge. At MacWorld Expo, I worked at the Microsoft booth every day, answering questions and telling people about our software. A lot of people use our products, but they sometimes forget that they’re using Microsoft products.

I spend a lot of time reminding people that we’re the biggest all-Mac development org. I remind them of the history of Excel and PowerPoint, two apps that started out on the Mac and were only later ported to Windows. It’s amusing to me that I have to do this both within Microsoft and when I’m at various Mac-related events.

I realised something as I typed all of this out. All of this is superficial. Although I might use a different laptop than the majority of the other Microsoft employees, we have a lot in common. We all have a commitment to making the best software that we can. And even though I work for a company that you might think doesn’t get along with Apple that well, we all have a commitment to our Mac customers to give them the best software possible. I think it’s like those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups ads. Some people might say, ‘Keep your Microsoft off of my Mac!’ And some people might say, ‘Keep your Mac out of my Microsoft!’ But that’s the wrong attitude. Microsoft and Macintosh are two great tastes that taste great together.

Comments (118)
  1. Your intrepid reporter has made the plunge and posted to Mac Mojo, the new MacBU team blog.

  2. Asam Bashir says:

    Should have waited for rev 2 MacBook Pro Nadyne 😛

  3. soft_guy says:

    I used to work as a Mac developer at Microsoft in a Mac group that was not part of the MacBU. I didn’t work there very long because I didn’t  care for working there – and another company offered me a lot more to leave.

    I can’t say I miss it. These days, I prefer to use non-Microsoft solutions on my Mac (NeoOffice & Mail instead of MS Office and Exchange).

  4. Considering some of the people working for both companies, your Reeses analogy makes me want to do the stabbity thing at in my eyes with a spork.


  5. nadyne says:

    My main work computer is a PowerBook, so I am still waiting. 😛

  6. scottnichol says:

    i can sympathize, really.  i work for a large company doing .NET development and carry around a MacBook Pro in my backpack.  i’m pretty vocal about the bad taste windows leaves with me and most of my co-workers love a good debate.

    but the MacBU really needs to work on something more innovative and ground breaking than another update to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.  its just really ho-hum at this point.  personally, i haven’t seen anything worth updating my copy of Office 2002.  heck, if i really need to i can open most word documents with OS X’s TextEdit.

    i just see so many other apps out there that are compelling, interesting, and productive (think OmniGroup) and they’re doing in on a skeleton crew.  it seems like your article is saying, "i’m doing Mac software for Microsoft and i want respect".  well, you won’t get it from the legacy of Word, you get it from forward thinking, groundbreaking innovations!

  7. Yellow #5 says:

    Hey Nadyne, don’t let the folks at MacDailyNews find this article. They still think only evil comes out of Redmond. =P

  8. konakahuna says:

    if people seem confused, it’s because your company sends mixed signals…

    on one hand, the macBU seems to genuinely care about mac users while on the other hand,microsoft shafts us time and time again. examples?

    1) microsoft drops windows media player and farms the project out to telestream to develop a quicktime plugin for WMV. 10 years after it’s initial founding, mac users still can’t watch video on msnbc.

    2) mac users are still second class citizens when it comes to accessing exchange servers. yeah, entourage is nice…but there are holes. for god’s sake…i had to buy a 3rd party app to help port my contacts from outlook on XP to entourage on the mac. i’m not feeling the love.

    3) no access. no visio. no more IE. no more virtualPC.

    i don’t doubt the macBU’s heart is in the right place..but the folks signing your checks have a different agenda…and it’s not nearly so sunny.

    thank god for those mac developers who are not on microsoft’s payroll. in the final analysis..they’re the ones providing protection for users. one call from bill and we’d all be hung out to dry and saavy mac users know this…hence the distrust and the stares.

  9. Steve Philips says:

    Good to hear from you.

    Good to see the Mac BU personalized.

    Sun (not the company!) for the weekend in Redmond!

    (I’m in Bothell.)

  10. nadyne says:

    Scott – Nah, I’m not saying ‘dude, give me respect’, just saying that it’s interesting to me how people on both sides of the fence forget that we exist at all.

    konakahuna – I think I was unclear.  I didn’t mean to say that I don’t understand why some folks are less than enthused about Microsoft.  Most people don’t realise that the team that made the decision about Windows Media Player for Mac is entirely separate from the team that makes the vast majority of the rest of Microsoft’s Macintosh offerings.  They just see it as all being Microsoft.  

    (Oh, and Steve: Not all of MacBU is in Redmond.  I’m writing this from our office in Mountain View, California, and it will be sunny here this weekend too!)

  11. MacBill says:

    Give me a frickin’ break. Nobody in the Mac world believes that Microsoft cares about Mac users. Over the last 3 years, I have reported over 50 bugs in both Microsoft Word & Entourage… and none of them have been fixed yet. Microsoft doesn’t create ANY Macintosh products except for Office — they have dropped support for IE, Windows Media Player, Virtual PC, FoxPro, and have absolutely no desire to make ANY of their other products Macintosh-compatible.  How many more years until Microsoft stops developing Office for the Mac too?  I guarantee you that the MacBU will not be around in 10 years.  So you create Mac versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint… and they barely work with the same finesse that the Windows versions have.  Microsoft is a horrible company.

  12. I for one and really happy to see this blog. As a new Mac Book Pro owner I am looking forward to the intel version of Office. As well as the next features that will be introduced in the next version. Hopefully the MACBU will let a few tib bits of information leak out so we can have something to look forward too.

    Keep up the great work and let us know when you want feedback on what we want to see in the future.

  13. Macintiger says:

    I’ve bookedmarked this blog and will check it often.

    Love Office: Mac, especially Entourage…Would love to see a little more compatibility with Exchange, but it’s pretty decent at this point and I use it frequently.

    Although I was disappointed to see some of the other Mac projects go by the wayside (WMP, IE, Virtual PC), I do recognize that you guys are in the business to make money and if they weren’t profitable, then you gotta do what you gotta do.

    Needed on the Mac platform: MS Money! For God’s sake we need some kind of real competition for Quicken. Also, would love to see MS Publisher on the Mac too, but with the myriad of desktop publishing programs out there for the Mac, I won’t hold my breath for that one.

  14. andy says:

    ive always wondered if microsoft stunt their mac dev team at all, so they donot make the mac more attractive with apps, no offence i think you do a fine job, just a thought, like messenger, why so little features in the mac version?

  15. Uncle Paul says:

    Maybe you could explain to me why PowerPoint presentations on the Mac look so much better than they do in Windows?

  16. Chris says:

    I appreciate that you have different internal teams, but why does it matter to me as a customer? Microsoft had a product, Microsoft axed it. Just because your email signature says something else doesn’t mean that the company isn’t shafting us.

    That said – thank you for the few product you do maintain. Any chance we’ll see a Universal Binary update for Remote Desktop Connection? I use it for 3+ hours every day, and it still has issues on my mac book pro.

  17. Richard Taylor says:

    You go, girl!

    Once Hitler invades Poland and you find yourself wearing an Allies uniform, things will be swell. In the meantime, don’t let the NAZIs know you’re not one of them!

  18. I am aware that the Windows Media team is entirely separate from the MacBU. That said, it is disappointing that they don’t appear to put forth the same effort to meet the needs of Mac users as MacBU does. I will applaud them for moving to the Telestream solution (WM codec within QuickTime) as I believe it’s the best choice under the circumstances. However – why can’t Microsoft give Telestream a license to implement Windows Media DRM? This is the last sticking point I have with the Windows Media team.

    IMO, as Intel-powered Macs and virtualization software become more common, the complaints about Visio, Access, IE, etc should go away. As long as those applications can be run in a pinch, I agree that there is no need for MacBU to undertake the effort.

  19. Kyle Kinkade says:

    I work in the Office Server Group (formerly OBA), working on the PerformancePoint application. I carry my MacBook around to different meetings, downstairs cafeteria, basically everywhere, and I’ve noticed the same puzzled looks too.  Every once in a while someone will look at my screen and notice that i might be running Vista on my MacBook, then look even more puzzled.

    I use those small windows of time to get them to ask the questions that i know are inside their head.

    "Why a Mac?"

    "Does it run Windows well?"

    "So why did you choose a mac?"

    After talking to them and answering any questions as well as letting them try it out for a while, their look usually goes from puzzled to that "oh hey cool" look. Then it’s just a quick reminder that we are the biggest developer for Mac products outside of Apple, and they open right up to it.

    I have helped two office mates purchase a MacBook. They run OSX, they run Windows, and it’s no big deal 🙂

  20. d- says:

    konakahuna – no access – no loss

  21. raul says:

    As someone who has been using Microsoft products (and the Mac) since the very beginning (as in 1984 and Word 1.0/Multiplan 1.0)… I’m a big fan of Microsoft’s Mac software. Sure there have been rough patches (Word 6.0! Explorer for OS X) but there has also been some incredibly good software over the years (Word 5.1, the tasman rendering engine, Office 98, Office 2004) that in general is rock solid. Anyway I look forward to hearing from the folks behind the software and hope the MacBU will continue to grow adapt and innovate.

  22. frag says:

    Everything that comes from Microsoft is craptacular.

    I don’t know why you haven’t realized this yet.

    It’s the sad, sad truth….


  23. AppleChick says:

    Nadyne, great articles!

    Will you or any other MacBU blogger pen a response to the recent Vista teasing at the WWDC.

  24. David Light says:

    konakahuna forgot to mention the awfully featured (in comparision with the PC version) MSN Messenger!! We don’t have voice or video conference, we can’t see or use custom smilies, etc!! It has always seemed to me as a way to show that the Mac is limited because it can’t have all these features at the same time (although there are much better alternatives from other developers).

  25. Tyrven says:

    There are a few groups within Microsoft that are interesting in their exemption to perceived animosities.  People who work on Unix interop, partner with Sun, write Java compilers, etc.  I had a conversation with a co-worker that reminds me of this post – it pertained to being a Unix guy at Microsoft.  He would remind me of various pieces of trivia such as the roots of Windows NT or tales of the infamous Xenix.

    I was at a meeting in Redmind recently with my Powerbook in tow, which invited a few glares.  I didn’t let on that it was actually running Windows Vista.

    Now, all of that said, with the exception of Word and Excel, I’ve never been quite as pleased with Microsoft’s mac apps as I have with their Windows apps – probably due to budget and time constraints, I’m sure.  Most notably is the difference between Outlook and Entourage.  

  26. Ernie Franic says:

    Why not roll "all things Mac" into the MBU?

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to have you guys, who have a proven track record of making good Mac products, in charge of Remote Desktop, MSN Messenger, and Windows Media Player?

    I feel like a lot of the "bad feelings" Mac users have towards Microsoft would go away if these other applications were developed to the same standards that we’ve become accustomed to froom your group.

    So here’s an official Wish List, and I suspect most Mac users would concur with it:

    – Mac versions of Access, Visio, and Publisher

    – Making sure that every font bundled with Windows + Office is bundled with Office/Mac

    – Fixing the cross-platform problems with Macros in office

    – Fixing cross-platform problems with embedded OLE objects in Office

    – A feature-complete version of Windows Media Player for Mac that supports ALL Windows Media Codecs, and supports Windows Media DRM, so Mac users have access to movie and music services that currently use Windows Media as a crutch to discriminate against Mac OS and Mac OS users

    – A completely rewritten MSN Messenger, with the same features as the Windows version

    – Updated Services for Macintosh in Windows Server 2003

    – A new UAM module for Mac OS clients connecting to Windows Server 2003 that is Universal.

    Oh, yeah… and some word on a Universal version of Office would be nice, too.


  27. Dan Frakes says:

    Nadyne: I promise not to write MicroSoft if you promise not to write MacWorld 🙂

    (j/k, looking forward to reading mac mojo)

  28. John says:

    I’m an ex-Apple employee (On being a Mac person at Apple?). Believe me, it is not all rosy on the other side either. In the main it (was) spoilt by a few who and openly and regularly dismissed Apple’s own lineage (certainly in education) and their long standing loyal customers rather than to progress things.

    It is still THE company to be associated with though. Its cool. Internally, we joked and we cajoled, but really MS was important to us. I met some of you MSBU folks when Office X launched (I was there at the warehouse with Steve and Bill) and yes, I can tell folks that what you say about you folks caring is true. It was a little like a teenage disco I recall (Apple folks on one side, MS on the other, but by the time things drew to a close there was a little synergy)

    Listen to me – pro MS?. Well yes – and no. It still doesn’t stop me finding, at every turn, that when I’m using Windows – it feels like travelling back in time 10 years. Everything is so unintelligent and long-winded – and the way that organisations (such as my own current one) are reeled in to become totally dependent is criminal, spending far more than we needs to and creating new problems. Its a business world i know, but MS has managed to give ICT a bad name simply by developing a dependency culture in the channels, and a way to make an easy buck. Sorry, but its true. Even UK Government has been suckered in – they hardly look anywhere else than ‘kind Uncle Bill’. I work for a council. 60% of all email traffic is suspect these days, the need for OTT security is limiting creativity and growth and the costs of software crippling. Users are totally dependent on ICT ‘technical support’ because it has been presented that way. What on earth is going on? Its ‘£’. I read a  lot about the early MS developments for the Mac (the online encyclopaedia). Surely MS can learn so much from the MacBU without appearing to be ripping off MacOSX? There must be a lot more like you at MS…….. if Apple can do it on iots £, MS should be streaks ahead.

    I’m really pleased you published. A ‘face’ on the MacBU is an interesting balance. I know a couple of exApple folks in MS, and it’d be interesting to hear their side. Indeed I think what you are doing will make MS a better understood, more human place. Well done, Now, I wonder if a ‘MS’ person in Apple will blog?


  29. limeybloke says:

    Dan (above poster) are you kidding?

    This is definitely a M$ sanctioned blog.

    Mainly a PR excercise and absolutely monitored by Monkey-Boy Ballmer’s Goons.

    I bet this post goes missing as soon as the attached URL is looked at.


  30. paul merrill says:

    I must say that your post is overwhelmingly positive – like it came from MS (which it did).

    MS and Apple both have contributed great things to computing (and life in general!), but I would not expect any unbiased opinions about MS-Mac products to come from this blog.

  31. paul says:

    girl, you REALLY need some pictures in this blog!

  32. x-f says:

    Hey, Nadyne!

    This is a great post, and I’ve added this blog to my feed reader. Didn’t know MS is such a big player on Macs.

    So, keep a good thing going, share some secrets with us, post good news. 🙂

    Good luck!

  33. JulesLt says:

    I’ve been following the earlier blogs from people in the MacBU so it’s nice to see this aggregate, and welcome. While obviously this is going to attract a lot of ‘haters’ I’d like to say that I really appreciate MS Office – and the way MS understood the mistake it made round Word 6. The future sounds promising (more Cocoa and Applescript support) although I do worry how it will affect my ability to work with (the few) VBA macros I need to use. However, I’ll still have Office 2004 which works well enough.

    Wishes : Clipart integration to be as easy as Office 2003, rather than ‘navigate to web, select images, download, install’.

    Something that will work with MS Publisher documents – maybe just a mode in Word. I suspect it is probably a nightmare as Publisher probably has a very different lineage to other Office apps – it’s certainly easy to develop Publisher style apps on Cocoa, but it looks like the file format is a lot harder to deal with than Word or Visio (otherwise I’m sure someone would have done it).

  34. Dr.T says:

    In Germany we say: "Viele Köche verderben den Brei". In the case of Office for Mac it is totally the same. Did you know that Office is worth using it in an Network environment? Maybe some of the 180 developers should focus on basic functionality instead of creating toolboxes bothering me while creating a fully compatible new document …

  35. Dave says:

    Nice to see a blog that opens things up a little in the Macintosh – Microsoft community. Many thanks. Dave. http://www.geekanoids.co.uk

  36. trever says:

    They weren’t looking at your BADGE, but rather what it was pinned to . . .

  37. Evan says:

    Hi Nadyne,

    Thanks for this post.  It’s good to hear that the committment to the Mac OS runs so deep.

    Quick question – I’m exploring Office Live and would like to know if it will function on a Mac.  My organization has a mixed platform environment and Office Live might be a great solution for us if it works well on Mac.  Will it work on the current Mac version of Explorer?  Will it work on Mac / Intel based Safari or Firefox browsers?



  38. Tobias says:

    When you were at the WWDC this year, or any year for that matter, did Apple’s digs at Microsoft bother you?

    How much independence do you have? Can you develop a Mac only application as a group without getting the ok from higher up?

    Thanks for the post, I’m going to keep reading.

  39. Jamie says:

    >>Needed on the Mac platform: MS Money! For God’s sake we need some kind of real competition for Quicken.

    I second that.  There’s a real business opportunity there.  Mac users know full well that Intuit treats them as second class citizens.  

    You could have a huge market share in no time flat.

  40. nadyne says:

    Chris – We announced at WWDC that we are working on Remote Desktop Connection, and that it will be a Universal Binary.  We haven’t announced a release date yet, but you can be assured that we’re working on it.

    Paul M – Just for the record, I’m not in marketing.  I’m a user experience researcher, which means that I try to make our software easier to use.  No-one asked me to write this particular post, and no-one approved it or edited it after I posted it.  This is just what I feel about working in MacBU in general.  If you haven’t yet, you can check out my own blog to see if it feels a bit more natural to you:


    Dan F – I saw that product feedback that you submitted about our spell check for your magazine.  I noticed it on the Sunday night before WWDC, and have been trying to track it down and get it fixed since then (during WWDC and my own vacation afterwards). 🙂  I’ve actually written up most of a post about what it’s taken to track it down, and have been waiting to ensure that I get the whole story and the (more importantly!) the resolution before posting it.  

  41. Natal says:

    konakahuna: You mentioned that ms droped many products for mac, such as windows media player.

    I was also wondering why apple does not release more products for windows, such as iLife. (iTunes is available, because they want to sell ipods.)

  42. Paul Smith says:

    I think your comments are going to get filled up with people complaining about messenger. SO heres another one video audio all the pc features should be in the mac version. Messenger on mac is a horrible mess and the only real reason that people can see is because thats the way that microsoft want it to be.

  43. Dan Frakes says:

    Nadyne: Just to be clear, I was teasing up there 🙂

  44. Roger Godspeed says:

    What drew you and some of your other blogging team members to MacBU in the first place? I am curious what path took you to what you do today.

  45. Tom Wyrick says:

    I just found out about this blog from a link on a Mac news site and thought I’d take a look.

    I’ve been in I.T. for about 16 years now, and have been a big Mac user and fan for the last 4-5 years.  (Honestly, I gave Macs an honest try back in ’96 or ’97 – but the Performa tower I purchased back then really did nothing for me.  I sold it within a few months and went back to Windows.)  OS X and the new product line Jobs brought when he came back on-board really got my attention though.

    Personally, I think the MacBU is great – but I always feel like they’re dropping a product for every new one they work on.  The remote desktop connection client is GREAT, so thank-you for the continuing work on that!! I have to support Windows XP and 2003 Server machines for a living, so it’s nice to come home to my Mac and still have the ability to remote control in and get work done at the office without limitations.

    Unlike some folks, I can see why MS Access isn’t ported to the Mac.  (Why bother?  The product sucks horribly in Windows anyway.  Sure, it makes it easy to quickly build a database – but it’s SO much better to just do it right the first time in a better tool.)  I would, however, really like to see a Mac version of MS Publisher.  Maybe Microsoft figures Mac users already have plenty of publishing tools (with Quark, Adobe, etc.)?  But those are all high-end packages for business use.  Many Office for Mac users are just running home-based businesses and want to make up a flyer or ad to put in a local paper here and there.  Something like Quark is WAY over their heads – and they resort to things like using Appleworks or Word to kludge it together.  I really haven’t seen another tool for desktop publishing that was easy, yet got professional-ish results like MS Publisher does.

    Finally, why can’t MacBU work on a Mac verison of Microsoft Streets and Trips??  The Mac is sorely lacking in decent mapping software with GPS support.  DeLorme dropped their support for the Mac version of Street Atlas USA years ago.  With the popularity of Macbooks and Macbook Pros now – it’d be a great time to offer people a way to use their laptops to find where they’re going when they travel!

  46. nosodualie says:

    Marry me?

  47. Ilkka says:

    First I’d like to thank you for this blog, for it’s nice to know what’s going on inside MBU.

    However, I’ll also the join the group of all those wanting more features to Messenger for Mac. Although I do like the clear and ad-free interface of the Mac Messenger (especially when compared to the latest Windows versions), it would sure be nice to have audio and video conversation options as well.

  48. Humphro says:

    Keep your Mac out of my system tray.

  49. Joe says:

    Well thats great that you get to use a mac at your job, but when is the Mac division of microsoft actually going to release something. As i recall, there were around 6-7 apps that microsoft made for mac, and now VPC, Windows Media for Mac, MSN for Mac and IE for Mac are cancelled, that just leaves Office and MSN Messenger, and since the official messenger is the worst one for mac, that leaves Office as the only program requiring active development?

    "There’s about 180 of us"

    Are you JOKING ME?!? Theres 180 people working on one software package. Maybe put 1 or 2 on Mac Messenger or the peice of crap software that is IntelliPoint. I swear to god if i get one more message that my battery is low when i JUST REPLACED THE BATTERIES im gonna whip my mouse at someones head

  50. Tom says:

    Give us some of those great Microsoft games out there!  

    Even better yet would be an Mac version of Access, would make sharing data here at work (60% Mac, 40% PC – PC guys refuse to switch database software) much easier.

  51. Garrison says:

    I love reeses pieces. I think you are exactly right. Two worlds that do go great together. I have supported both enviroments and enjoy both. They both provide our users with excellent tools to do their jobs. I get those same looks from a lot of people.

  52. Brandon says:

    I laughed…I cried…I laughed again.  Being an ex-Microsoftie I can sympathize.  When I carried around an iPod I was harrassed by everyone.  When I told people in the exchange group to take a look at how google organizes email in gmail I was told that they wouldn’t even look at their product for one second and I shouldn’t talk to them or any customer about it.  Watch out for those blinders.

  53. scott hodson says:

    I own a PowerPC Mac Mini.  I’m would not say that I’m a "switcher" but I’ve really come to enjoy using and exploring the Mac since I got my Mini, especially for my media needs.  I’m hoping to get a MBP once Stevey announces new ones with the new Merom chips and run Windows on Parallels for my .NET and SQL Server development.  

    Anywho, I’ve met some Microsoft/Mac developers in Redmond and they’re pretty cool.  I’ve met and worked with a lot of people at Msft over the years and they’re pretty forward thinking.  The problem is Msft tends to hold them back or kill initiatives if they threaten to weaken or compete with the Windows platform instead of just trying to make the best products around.  I think Ray Ozzie is trying to help Msft overcome that problem.  Yet, I’m still surprised they develop Office for Mac, perhaps it’s to keep the anti-trust guys off their backs.

    As far as other canceled Mac software

    1) Why do we need Virtual PC if we have Parallels?  They’d have to write a completely new version, which they could, but, I guess they don’t want to

    2) MSN Messenger, one word: Adium

    3) IE, it has sucked on Windows too, so why would you expect to work any better on a Mac?

    4) WMP – No comment, I don’t like WMV on Windows either, and I don’t watch MSNBC on the web, so I guess I don’t care.

  54. Bryan says:

    You’re on the right side of the wrong team 😉

    Microsofts mac software is usually fairly good though I hadn’t used more than office a few years ago. Often microsoft get’s dragged down in the geek community because of Windows faults but being as big of a Linux Fanboy as I am. I still say their software, but rather not the windows OS itself is pretty great. I’d use Messenger for Linux anyday, but I don’t see that happening.

    I’m not poking fun at Microsoft I’m saying you guys in the more specific software departments do a pretty good job!

    Grats on the digg front page as well!

  55. Ian Christensen says:

    I feel ya on the fact that in some ways compatibility is a PITA, but the fact that you and your co-workers try for us is truly awesome, I couldn’t live without the Notes feature in Word 😛

  56. gonzo says:

    i think MacBU makes great software and well worth buying the ms office for mac license.

    philmug.ph sucks 🙂

  57. Thank you for this blog post – as was said a hundred times above, it’s nice to see a softer side of Microsoft (the Mac BU). Personally, I like most of the products that aren’t Windows – and even that is just personal preference.

    I also must say that some of the other comments above that show mistrust of Microsoft are fairly well founded, but I am also aware that the Mac BU is very much like the old "Store within a store" at CompUSA – a small haven of Mac within an otherwise cold and unwelcoming place for Mac fans.

    It’s the little things that have really left a bitter taste in our mouths. Things like the Mac BU supposedly existing as a subsidiary of the Games division… which shows complete and utter disrespect for the platform. Most of the other reasons are stated in comments above, so I’ll spare the rehash.

    Anyway… thanks again for a great post (I liked the Reese’s comparison, BTW).

  58. Donald Allen says:

    Microsoft actually is creating a new MSN Messenger client for Mac that looks… okay. Nothing special.

    Everything from Microsoft on Mac (aside from Office) feels half-assed.

  59. anon says:

    Microsoft is NOT the biggest Macintosh development org outside Apple.  Macromedia/Adobe is much bigger.

  60. Micro-tosh says:

    I’ve worked at both Apple and Microsoft.  

    Apple has these four story open air atriums that house things like video games & pool tables.  Microsoft has these two story stair wells that have unused ping pong tables.  

    Apple has beer busts.  Microsoft has awkward lunch get-togethers.

    Apple has offices filled with Legos and laughter.  Microsoft has bare minimum offices with very little talking.

    I have to say the environments seem to reflect the products coming out of them.

  61. They call me Mr. Prince says:

    Well, from what I’ve tried Office for os x is pretty good. I’d say it’s the best software product from Microsoft ever.

    But then there’s MSN that  feels just as donald has stated, half-assed.

    I suppose I’d like at-least an MSN application that could rival it’s windows counterpart. It just feels like I’m back in 2001 using it. But oh well.

    Interesting post. 😮

  62. Mark Ras says:

    I think what you talked about shows you guys what direction would really make us want to buy office for mac – if you made it easier to hook in at these microsoft worlds.  How bout a version of NetMeeting for osx?  That would be great.  Sharepoint that performs all functions on standards compliant browsers.  Make using a mac in a windows world a non-factor with your software, and we’ll support you with purchases.

  63. Chookalana says:

    I do believe that your heart is in the right place, but not your company. MS does everything in its power do short change the Mac.

    Media Player is practically useless, for god sakes it won’t even play content with your company’s DRM!?!?

    A lot of your websites do not work with Safari. (yes they work with FF, but I can use Safari on every other site.)

    Whenever a Microsoft employee talks about their Mac products they always bring up the past. Like how Excel & Power Point came out on the Mac first. That was over 20 years ago.

    What has the Big M done for us lately?

  64. nadyne says:

    Just down the hall from my office (as in, less than 10 feet away) is a lounge with a couple of video games, a television, an Xbox, an Xbox 360, and a couple of weird games that I’ve never figured out.  There’s a ping-pong tables here that get a fair workout, although it’s a toss-up between the PowerPoint dev lead and one of our summer interns as to who’s better.  When I’m in my office, there’s an ongoing conversation with the guys in the offices around me whenever one of us gets something interesting.  (We just close our doors when we’re really heads-down on something.)  Several of us have lunch together every day.  

    I’m pretty happy with my environment.  I can’t speak to what it’s like for anyone else, but my particular corner of it is pretty comfortable.  

  65. Ian says:

    Whoaaa, frankly that must be a bit of a head****!

  66. suresh says:

    Please ,

    1. help expand WMP for the mac with DRM, i would love to play my tivo files.

    2. Add outlook to the mac back, pleaseeeeeee

    my only two wishes., I do use office on the mac, and its worth the money i paid for it.


  67. linux 4ever says:


    Are there any linux developers there?

  68. Anonymous says:

    I work for Microsoft on the Redmond campus. Before I got here, I was a die-hard Mac guy and intended to give my colleagues a bunch of crap about Vista being a blatant MacOS copy (way to start off a job, right? 🙂 but when after arriving my iBook died of motherboard failure, my PowerBook hard drive and SuperDrive died, and my iPod started skipping, I realized I had drunk the Jobsian Kool-Aid and given him thousands of my hard-earned dollars all for a bunch of crap hardware.

    Now I run Vista pre-RC1 on my desktop and love it and am waiting for my iPod to give up the ghost so I can look around for something that is maybe 5% less cool but 100% more reliable. And yes, I got sick of the smarmy Mac guy in the PC-hating Apple commercials pretty quick after working here. Apple’s just got an inferiority complex, and with their 5% marketshare and shoddy hardware, are pretty much irrelevant to me. Ta ta, Apple.

  69. Joe says:

    "As far as other canceled Mac software

    1) Why do we need Virtual PC if we have Parallels?  They’d have to write a completely new version, which they could, but, I guess they don’t want to

    2) MSN Messenger, one word: Adium

    3) IE, it has sucked on Windows too, so why would you expect to work any better on a Mac?

    4) WMP – No comment, I don’t like WMV on Windows either, and I don’t watch MSNBC on the web, so I guess I don’t care."

    I didn’t mean i want this crap software, i was just pointing out that this division isn’t doing anything at microsoft anymore except develop Office. And by the way, Flip4Mac is much better than WMP.

  70. Jeff says:

    I was a product manager at another MAJOR cross platform software company as well as a former 7 year Apple employee and had similar experiences when I carried an HP laptop to demo our Windows wares.

    I just wanted to say that the software history books are awash with the stories of companies that dropped, or never gave support to the Mac, that died.

    Those that have thrived have a strong cross-platform story. I’m not sure this has anything to do with the products themselves as much as it has to do with an obvious culture that sees the benefit in dealing with two sometimes very different markets and leveraging that knowledge across both to gain a competitive advantage over the others.

    I recently interviewed for an Office for Mac PM job but I think they were scared off by my current salary. That’s a shame because I think Office for Mac is a great product and would have worked for less to contribute to it becoming an even greater one.  Such is life…

    Having said that I’m glad to read that someone like you that has passion for the product and the platform, with a balanced dash of business reality, is there in the mix.

    It’s a tough role to be in! Good luck and have fun!  


  71. Marcelo says:

    Wonderful post! Keep up the great work!

  72. KingAMD says:

    just use the new crossover tool
    source: http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxmac/

    (found on digg! :P)

  73. Daniel says:

    Man, you Mac zealots need to mellow out. Apple has done just as many horrible things to Windows users as Microsoft has to Mac users. It’s called competition.

    If you’re not a musician you probably wouldn’t be aware of the fact that Apple bought a company called Emagic. They made an industry standard music sequencing software package called Logic for both Windows and the Mac. Well, after buying Emagic, Apple decided to discontinue the Windows version of Logic, thereby stranding thousands of PC-based Logic users. Apple’s "customer support solution" to these users? Buy a Mac.

    Believe me, Microsoft has nothing on Apple. They’re both mega corporations that want to make a lot of money. End of story.

  74. kaod says:

    thats hilarious, and a little unfortunate. in today’s black and white world, people want to pick a side and stick to it. its always easier that way.

    great post, cheers

  75. donald Latham says:

    That’s awesome. I bet your the only one at microsoft not running virus software.

    I use office for mac almost everyday. I can remember using excel and word in the mac lab in college. It wasn’t available on the ibm pcs.

    Think different.

  76. tomfrankly says:

    i would like to start by saying i am a former mac user, i switched to windows xp after being very unsatisfied with what was available to me on the mac. i am a pc gamer, but i also enjoy playing with photoshop and browsing my favorite web sites. i use absolutely no microsoft software other than what comes with the operating system. for word processing i use http://www.openoffice.org (a great open source multi-platform office suite) and for internet and email, firefox and thunderbird, respectively. obviously, the selection of macintosh games at the time of my switch was lacking at best.

    to be honest, i’d use linux if it promised 100% compatablity with all the things i use, but it doesnt.

    ANYWAY… all im trying to say is don’t use a mac just because you always have, have for as long as you can remember, and are stuck on the notion that microsoft is evil. i mean, other than Windows XP, microsoft is not involved with my computer..

    if youre a graphic artist and rely heavily on mac’s ability to display "print colors", then ROCK ON!!!! but otherwise… try to be a bit open minded hmm?

  77. Charles says:

    Great article, and it’s wonderful to hear that the Apple platform is ‘preferred’ by some Microsoft employees.

    I just started my first professional year in my pharmacy program, and we got Tablet PCs.  Needless to say, I’m hooked on it.  OneNote is simply one thing that Apple has yet to do… they need a tablet first.

    As far as I’m concerned, I love my iMac a ton, and will continue to do most of my web design and multimedia projects on it.  However, I love that I can open most of my files on both computers (MS Office), and that they connect to eachother without a hitch over the university network.

    Keep up the good work in the Mac sector.

  78. Rob says:

    Hey, all I can say is keep up the good work.  I think you guys are doing great.

    You know what I would love to see though…  and Exchange Server for Mac.  Probably wouldn’t be called Exchange, but still.  Entourage is so well used… it could really use a server that works on OS X Server…

  79. This was an interesting post from an MS employee in the Macintosh Business Unit and her experience with…

  80. Ethan Allen says:

    I used to be a Microsoft employee at the Redmond campus. I work in SFM, or Services for Macintosh. At the time I was working on Windows Whistler Server (later named Win 2003) and the component of it that connects to Macs on networks. We had a lab of about 150 Macs, most of them new iMacs at the time. It was weird, I know how you feel, and when I told people what I did at MS they were very confused. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The folks who with with Macs in the Seattle area deal with it to 🙂



  81. Ryan says:

    All I can say is..


    good read

  82. Bob says:

    If there’s so many people working on Mac stuff at Microsoft, why the hell can’t you produce applications that conform to Apple’s UI guidelines?

    You know, applications that are actually usable instead of confusing and frustrating.

  83. Rutger says:

    Nice to hear from a MBU worker and see a Mac blog at MSDN. I really love Office:Mac, it’s way better than the Windows version I also used. So you guys are doing great on that! Shame about some other apps being discontinued or being so slooooow in development.

    You’re getting some pretty tough comments from some people here, and though they may have a point, I think some are too harsh, as you guys are probably for a large part not responsible for a lot of the decisions MS makes. Just keep it up, have fun and make sure you kill the beast from within 😉

  84. Cello says:

    Great read, btw you should go over to the Enterprise Software building and tell them that most of the times you get a "Server too Busy" message when trying to post a comment!

  85. Lance Fisher says:

    Hey, good article.  I never knew Excel and Powerpoint started on a Mac.

    Really, there is too much conflict between Mac users and PC users.  What’s the big deal?

  86. bryan says:

    So I can’t help but wonder if iPods are still career-limiting contraban around the Redmond campus…

  87. docphyz says:

    I have been using a Mac and MS Software since 1984.  (Also have used MS OS’s, DEC OS’s, UNIX, on and on…)  Being a scientist and a manager  that happens.  My most productive has been using MS apps on Macs.  I can remember using File, Multiplan, Word and Project as an office suite before "Office" came into being.  File and Project are gone. Multiplan is now Excel (WONDERFUL APP!! for a scientist/manager!) I find that I use Excel and Word daily on both Macs and Windows.  I am frightened by MS dropping Visual Basic for the Mac.  Very bad vibes on this one.  We have tons of macros in VBM.  How are we going to keep cross platform parity?  Maybe there  is a solution planned. (VBM development on a PC is okay here, what happens in Mac only shops…)  As I said, I am frightened, not informed enough yet to be upset…

    I love Office 2004.  Entourage is the best e-mail client and works acceptably with Exchange (not on par with Outlook tho.)

    PLEASE reconsider bringing back Project.  It is so good for projects with less than 10,000 tasks. I still use it in OS 9 (the only app in use in OS 9, the rest are all OS X.)  Many more managers are going to be in the OS X crowd real soon (I believe this to be true, and have witnessed a number of stalwart Windows users convert recently.)

    Thanks for the blog. I shall come back often.

  88. casual viewer says:

    Please, Please make a Mac version of Microsoft Money!!

    Or perhaps Apple can develop an iMoney product.

  89. Evan says:

    I don’t know if you’re totally conceded or just lame.  You make no sense at all.  I must say though, that Microsoft does not do a good job at creating applications for Macs.  MSN Messenger? Pshh, it sucks.  No video conferencing or sounds.  Microsoft Office? Just use the Mac native programs.

  90. Schwieb says:

    iPods are ubiquitous on campus.  Usually about 20% of the folks on my morning bus run (which is probably 80% Microsoft emplyees) are wearing those white headphones.  Never been a career-limiting move as far as I could tell.  🙂

  91. nadyne says:

    Bryan – They’re not in MacBU!  Everyone who was in MacBU when Office:Mac 2004 shipped got an iPod as a gift for successfully shipping that product.  I got asked this question on my own blog a few months ago, and wrote up a whole post on this topic:


  92. Mac Mojo says:

    Hi, my name is Brian Johnson and I’m a product manager at MacBU. Welcome to our Mac Mojo weblog! It’s…

  93. Limeybloke says:

    OK, I’m impressed, my link to MonkeyBoy Ballmer is still up.

    Maybe we can take you seriously.

  94. Limeybloke says:

    Speaking of iPods , heres another link.

    Of particular note to those in marketing.


  95. Tom Parker says:

    We need a decent MSN client with webcam I can’t stand aMSN its ugly and Mercury MSN just plain sucks as its Java please webcam would be great!

    – Tom Parker

  96. sneakergal says:

    Thanks for starting this blog.  I am a Mac user in a big corporate environment. I might be the only Mac user in my four story office building!  I have four or five Macs right now (home and office) and probably have owned at least ten over the years.  All of them have had MS software installed on them.  

    I have been using Word and Excel for a long time.  I started using Outlook (Enterprise Server Edition) when I came onto this big corporate network about 9 years ago.  It took some getting used to and it had some issues, and I didn’t really like it all that much (mainly due to all the crashes), but when it did work it was pretty functional.  Then when I migrated to OSX, I had to switch to Entourage.  WHY did MS create a new email client that had less functionality than the old client?  For example… Where are my voting buttons?  When I get a reminder and click on "open item," why doesn’t the original flagged email open up?   For that matter, why does my Office database ask to be rebuilt five times a week?  

    I do believe, as others have said above, that your personal heart is in the right place.  I’m sure that if I met you I would like you. But I also believe that your employer’s business plan involves doing its best to cripple the Macintosh platform with all of the many tools at its disposal.

    Good on Bill Gates for giving so much money away so intelligently and for such good causes.  But shame on him for the way he earns it.

  97. The pros and cons of being dugg.

  98. Roman says:

    http://www.communicationtube.net/ – chat web client for the popular IM (internet messaging) networks: ICQ , MSN , GTalk

  99. There’s just no accounting for taste, is there?

  100. Matti says:

    aMSN sucks, it looks and feels horrible. Why Can’t MS do any better? MSN = no audio and no webcam.

    With update they added support for Yahoo! IM.

    Maybe making bad IM-client is just a way of telling teenagers "If you buy a Mac, you’re going to miss out on this and that, and THAT!"

    Yes it’s true ,Apple doesn’t make iLife for Windows, but you can’t really compare iLife and MSN Messenger.

    Yahoo has webcam support in their IM Client, too bad it doesn’t do cross-platform.

    Even skype has beta with video.

  101. Scott Whitlock says:

    How can anyone be so proud of a product that, in its current state, takes a Quad-Core Mac Pro to approach anywhere near fast. And don’t give me any of that Rosetta —-, because it didn’t run that fast on a G5 either. The product won’t even keep up with my typing most of the time and has a noticeable lag. What kind of word processor needs that much firepower to process TEXT???

    I wonder, if the MacBU did not have Windows Office to keep it in business (and it does, because we use it on the Mac because everyone else uses it on Windows), would we even be reading this blog. And, using that monopoly, if it didn’t take so many customers from great Mac companies like Mariner and Nisus what kind of really innovative products would we see? By squashing that competition, Microsoft has not only ruined computing, but it also ruins any innovation in productivity apps on the Mac. Shame on all of you.

    And this blog is useless as well. Like everything at Microsoft, it’s arrogant and it is too busy tooting its own horn to realize its own damned faults. I don’t care if there are people there at MacBU. I just want a word processor that doesn’t feel like a second-class (albeit prettier) version of the real thing.

  102. Scott says:

    Hi Mac Girl,

    Well certainly you yourself have some across this printing dilemma then…  How does a MAC OSx view / manage their print jobs that have been sent to a Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 R2 Print server?  We don’t use Appletalk.


  103. Larry says:

    I’ve been using Excel since ver. 2.0 on the mac … I remember when it was ported to Windows! lol

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