Hello from the new General Manager of the Macintosh Business Unit – Craig Eisler


Hi folks,


Wow!  I can’t believe I’m actually here – General Manager of Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit.   I would not have guessed this is where I would’ve landed when I rejoined Microsoft.  But after looking at several great options over the course of the past couple months, I jumped at the Mac BU opportunity when I heard about it.


Why Mac BU?  What first got my attention was the fact that it was a fantastic business focused on delivering great technology.  As an Office for Mac user, I already knew we had a terrific set of products, and as I dug in, I discovered there was a terrific team of passionate people dedicated to innovation and excellence.  Furthermore, Apple and Microsoft are great partners (have been for over 20 years), and there is still more we and Apple can do together. When I put all of that stuff together, it presented a very compelling opportunity.  But the icing on the cake – the thing that I love – is the chance to work on Mac products and to get to work with Apple.  I have been an Apple fan and Mac user for years – check out my recent blog posting:  top ten things from Apple I love.


Microsoft and Apple are both great companies in their own right, and working in Mac BU, I get to experience the best of both worlds. 


I am super excited to help Mac BU continue to rock the house with Office 2008 for Mac and beyond. 


Craig

Comments (79)

  1. MacBU has a new general manager!

  2. nadyne says:

    Welcome to MacBU!  I’d get the Hello Kitty laptop if (a) I could convince Geoff to let me expense it, and (b) it were a Mac.  Until then, I’ll have to make do with my Hello Kitty bling mouse.

  3. Welcome to the Jungle!

    I’d say more, but spoilers suck 😛

  4. bynkii.com says:

    Got a ping from Microsoft this morning. Craig Eisler is the new head of the Mac BU, only the third person to hold that job since the Mac BU was formed, (Following Ben Waldheim and Roz Ho)Craig seems a nice chap, and a bit of a Mac fanboy.

  5. Schwieb says:

    Actually, Craig is our 4th GM — Kevin Browne was our GM in between Ben and Roz.

  6. ExtremeMac says:

    hey,i personally hate microsoft.but being a gr8 Mac fan i think we still r in debt for the 1997 bail out & of couse you MS suit for Mac. i really like entourage but i thnk apple got the powerpoint.anyways expecting a lot for MS 2008.

    cya

    best of luck

  7. Walt Basil says:

    Congratulations on your new position. I like your blog you mention above. Lots of nice toys. Maybe you can make Office more Mac-like while maintaining the compatibility with win versions. One can hope.  It has tremendously improved since Office 98, but could improve more. MS Office for Mac has legally occupied some space on my HD since I upgraded from Word 2001 + Entourage (remember that?), and will get upgraded to your next release through my employer’s Home User Program for around $22 bucks, signed, sealed, and delivered. I have to admit though; I only use it when I am forced to nowadays. There was a time when it was everything I used, but in the last year or so, it has only been fired up after an updated to make sure it still runs. It’s used because I have to use it, and not because I want to use it. I guess that would best describe it. True syncing with calendar categories (and not creating its own category in iCal) over sync services might get me to use Entourage some.

  8. Peter says:

    where is Roz now?

  9. I’ll be ready to lavish some praise when I hear about the next version of Entourage…something has GOT to change….it is not a Mac equivalent to Outlook.

    In some ways better….in many ways, worse.

    -j

  10. Ian says:

    Hi Craig

    Congrats on the new position. Would you consider bringing back Media Player for Mac? Despite not having been updated since 2003, it is consistently in the top 3 downloads at apple.com.

    Ian

  11. Bill says:

    I love you Mac BU. Just don’t tell my wife! My friends and I anxiously await the new MS Office suite.

    Mac Pro Tower Quad 3GHz

  12. James says:

    Is MacBu in Redmond, WA or Mountain View, CA? I thought most of it was in Redmond, but Powerpoint was still in CA. Anyway, hoping for good things. I worked in CA campus for around 5 years a few years a go and know a few people in MacBU.

    MacBU has always been one of the most productive and innovative parts of MS, but lately they’ve been seeming strangled and abused (kill Virtual PC, reduced staffing, bad XML converters for Office PC, the many lingering and growing bug count in Mac Office).

    – James

  13. Jason says:

    I just hope that with Parallels and VMWare Fusion that MS is still committed long term to native MAC programs so I do not have to buy PC Office in virtualization! Good Luck Craig!

  14. adam jackson says:

    I met Roz back in 2004. She was very friendly and knowledgeable of the product line. It will be sad to see her go. Congrats to Craig for working on a product that you truly love. That’s the only way you’ll love your work.

  15. Magnus says:

    Congratulations! I’m sure it’ll be an interesting position.

  16. Welcome Craig!

    I’m definitely looking forward to Office 2008, I use Windows a lot, but I am looking forward to reviewing this major upgrade to Office for Mac.

    Some suggestions, I would appreciate if you could engage users more and open the development experience to a wider audience. Basically, beta testing. Also, it would be nice if you could aim to deliver releases along side Windows versions of Office, after all, its Microsoft Office.

    I would also recommend you try getting down compatibility between both product platforms as right as possible. Especially when it comes to Entourage and Outlook, I think a user migrating from either product should have a seamless experience because simply its a Microsoft product.

  17. Congrats on the new position Craig:) When you have the time, please do look into the possibility of a Universal Binary version for the Remote Desktop client, and maybe a Remote Assistance client as well (also in UB format). They would be a great deal of help for many of us!

    Again, my congratulations and good luck:D

  18. Mark Rich says:

    Perhaps now estabished in your post you can do something about the quantity of Mac products from Microsoft?

    It likes to tell everyone that it’s supportive of the Mac, how many products it sells and how long it has been doing so but the quantity of Mac products from Microsoft it still very small.

    Why?

    Where are all original Mac products from the MBU and where are all the Mac versions of Windows apps?  A company the size of Microsoft should have a larger number of Mac products for sell.

  19. Vince says:

    Congrats Craig.

    So maybe we can now get back VBA or do I still need to switch to open office ?

  20. b-rad says:

    microsoft needs to update its messenger for mac. a new interface would be cool, and of course all the other things like video / voice chatting since most new mac users have built in cams/ mics.

  21. Stephen Harbage says:

    Congratulations!

    Also, I strongly agree with Ian. We need new port of Windows Media Player for the Mac! It would help the BBC bring their iPlayer to the Mac a lot sooner and be a big boast for us on the Mac.

    Microsoft’s Media Player is so important in the world that I think it needs to part of your portfolio again.

  22. Patrick Gant says:

    Congrats on the new job, Craig! This copywriter here is certainly eager to see what you guys do with the new version of Office for Mac.

  23. Rick H. says:

    This guy seems pretty cool – hacking his own Apple TV’s and whatnot – I don’t know how we could ask for more (unless he’s actually some kind of corporate construct and not a real enthusiast)

  24. Schwieb says:

    A couple of quick answers:

    WMP was never a MacBU product — you’d have to talk to the WMP team about it…

    the MacBU is split roughly 50/50 between Redmond and Silicon Valley.  Craig’s primary office is in Redmond.

    Office 2008 will not have VB.

  25. O says:

    Congrats.

  26. clone says:

    Regardless MS sucks by its nature, I believe MacBU won’t do the same and with your help too… Frankly speaking, I am not satisfied with the line of MS products for Mac at the moment, but I believe you will do all your best to change the situation to the contrary one… Good luck to you, Craig!

  27. Bob Shutts says:

    Congratulations! Microsoft make great products for the Mac, and this Mac user wishes you and Mac BU continued success.

    Without Office for Mac’s tight integration between apps, we’d be in serious trouble here at our business (which is all Mac and all Microsoft Office).

  28. Congratulations. One of the long-term problems with the Office suite for Mac — as opposed to the massive improvements in recent years — is that there are still unfixed bugs that appeared in versions of Word and Excel 10 years ago. For instance, in Excel you cannot paste in a chart field, just among other UI problems with editing the settings for a chart once created.

    I don’t believe there has been a comprehensive bug review in years to solve these lingering problems, probably often reported.

    On the flip side, the improvements in Track Changes in Word in its last release were just astoundingly useful to me and other professional writers.

  29. Eric Welch says:

    Two words (after this):

    Exchange Support.

    Good luck!

  30. vmarks says:

    Office 2008 should have unicode and right to left support. I frequently get non-latin char .doc / .xls / .ppt from Windows Office users, and Office:Mac has always failed spectacularly at displaying the characters and letter order properly.

    It’s 2007, and Mac OS X has been ready for this since Kevin Browne announced Office v.X in 2001.

  31. Steve Lacey says:

    Congrats Craig! Cool position. Now, about DirectX for the Mac… 🙂

  32. Will R. says:

    Best wishes in your new job, Craig. Generally, I have been pleased (although admittedly occasionally puzzled) with what the MacBU does and I look forward to seeing what direction it will go  in.

  33. Brian Sugar says:

    Please make entourage usuable!

  34. Creator1326 says:

    If Micro$oft is soooo wise and soooo wonderful then why are they de-featuring Mac Office.  The removal of macros and VB script will only make using Mac Office 2007 difficult to use for Mac based businesses who have years of documents that use macros.

    To suddenly loose the functionality in your document is to not upgrade and start looking for alternatives, aka OpenOffice and Google.

    Whip the MacBU into shape, Mac beneficial changes and not make bloated harder to use (yet another interface).  Also Office 2007 MUST, I repeat MUST support Apple network home directories.  Who doesn’t live on a network?

  35. asjk says:

    Congrats and welcome.

    –asjk

  36. Mario Amati says:

    Congrats and best wishes on the new gig, Craig.  Under your stewardship, I hope Microsoft can develop Office for the Mac further to be the best desktop office software solution on ANY platform.  This is going back far, but think of Lisa 7/7 on the pioneering Apple Lisa.  Then move onto the Company’s early Mac products, Word and Excel.  Oh, which reminds me, please bring back Word version 5.1a back (on MacOS X of course)!  

  37. Quazar says:

    Still don’t know whether this change in management has any major effect on new features of the office, specially since its luanch date is getting close, but I hope this time it SUPPORTS Unicode and RIGHT to LEFT typring as it does in windows version for years !!!!

  38. Peter says:

    How about making one of your first goals to deliver a version of MSN Messenger for the Mac, within a reasonable period of time, which is at least on par in terms of functionality with the Windows version.

  39. roberto says:

    What would be REALLY nice in this, and the other MacBU related blogs, is maybe more… oh… I don’t know… TALK and INFORMATION about the forthcoming Mac Office release.  

    Full unicode and ATSUI support would be nice.

    I remember excitedly buying a copy of MacWorld, six or so years ago, that had a breakdown of the new Office, app by app… why not let some buzz build and let folks see, besides a few screenshots, what the new Office will be capable of (and a more precise release date than "second half of 2007")?

  40. XP of not to XP says:

    The last time I switched from Apple to Windows was because of Outlook 2003.Solid email is the foundation of business.

    I really hope that you bring out a robust email client, we have nothing to compare in the Apple market for medium-large business, entourage is ok , it just feels like we get the scraps. I guess thats ok as we only have a few % of the market and its alot of consumer and small business.

  41. Robert says:

    Welcome!  I’d like to apologize in advance to my fellow Mac fanboys who habitually bash all things Microsoft.  You may need to develop a thick skin; they’re often rather unthinking.  Good luck and have fun!

  42. cubeowner says:

    You’re a Cube fan? Ok then, you can stay 😉

  43. Creator1326, I kinda have to agree with you. The Mac Office Team never gave us a good answer whether the possibility of VBA was feasible or not. Meaning, could you do it or you won’t do it because it will take a long time. I am sure a lot of users would suffice with ’04 until you rewrite everything for 12. Its not like Office is the most performance intensive set of applications on Intel Macs.

    Then again, you said you are phasing it out because the Win Office will be moving to .NET with future releases. Would this be hinting at .NET also coming to a future release Office for Mac on Intel?

  44. Anonymous says:

    Great partners?  That seems like a stretch.  I have great respect for both companies (I’m ex-MS and have been a Mac user for the last couple years) but I feel that their overly competitive and exclusive views have prevented the consumer benefits of working together.

    Also, I agree that Mac Office is a fantastic product, although Entourage is just a shell of Outlook.  That was my biggest disappointment in migrating – and one of the big reasons I now run Vista on my Mac desktop.  I haven’t got a chance to work with Office 2008 yet, but am hoping it will help bridge the gap on the mail clients.

    That all said – welcome 🙂

  45. Justin says:

    "The removal of macros and VB script will only make using Mac Office 2007 difficult to use for Mac based businesses who have years of documents that use macros."

    I couldn’t agree more.  My firm recently invested quite a bit into some Office automation tools in part because they bridge the gap between our Mac and Windows users while keeping with a familiar environment.  We were really bummed to find out that VBS support is being scrapped.

  46. ADAXL says:

    First of all, welcome to the new Boss of MacBU.

    I hope Microsoft will support the Mac platform more strongly than in the past. The last years have shown a steady decline in Mac support:

    – IE for Mac was a good browser under Mac OS 9, a very good-looking. Nobody could explain to me why it was discontinued.

    – Virtual PC for Mac was a great product. It is dead now. Pity.

    – Media Player for Mac was nice, too (not version 9, that one was not nice!). The new Media Player from Microsoft is called "Windows Media Player". The Mac version is dead, and we have only Flip4mac. No incarnation of the Media Player for the Mac could read DRM’d files from the many online music stores that support the "Plays for Sure" initiative. Microsoft released the Zune, and again, no Mac support. Has Microsoft given up in the face of iTunes and the iPod?

    – There is Silverlight (no MacBU product, but still an MS product), but no development tool for the Mac platform. No thanks.

    There is much room for improvement. Again, welcome.

  47. Richard says:

    Welcome aboard, Craig.  We love Microsoft’s Mac Products.  Keep ’em coming!  Can’t wait for the new version of Office this fall. Once I get it, I plan to purchase an Intel Mac.  So, you guys are actually increasing Apple’s business.  Great synergy.

    The office suite is one of the last major Mac software to become Universal.  Makes me wonder: Did you guys deliberately save the best for last?

  48. John says:

    2 spaces after a full stop (period) or one?

    We Mac folk notice those things.

  49. Hi Craig and congratulations!

    I already know I’m gonna like you after looking at "Craig’s Musings". Those iSight pics are great! My wish for Office:mac is parity, parity, parity for Entourage with Outlook!

    Looking foward to your contributions to MacBU.

    bill

  50. Bob Jones says:

    Yes indeed, how about that DirectX.

  51. jimmy says:

    All-encompassing, complete and total Exchange support in Entourage or this is one customer who will not upgrade to Office: mac ’08.

    "Can you hear me now"?

  52. Bizarro Ballmer says:

    Welcome, great to read of a mac fanboy within the ramparts of Redmond( oh wait, mac BU is in Cali I think) Ok Microsoft.

    Great enthusiasm and did ya get the new macbook pro yet?

    Enjoy your iPhone later this month  ;  )

    Don’t let Steve know, B. thats is.

  53. Dan says:

    Congrats on your new job. Can you make the Office 2008 icons more in line with the pc office icons or atleast closer to that style, the current Mac Office icons are in dire need or a remake.

  54. By now you’ve read the news . MacBU has a new general manager . I only found out about this via e-mail

  55. Jeffsters says:

    Well..it was only a matter of time and I’m glad someone moved Roz out. Wish it had been sooner!  Office was "supposed" to be ready in March…I still have the old PowerPoint preso.  Then converters were late, bug count up causing the loss of features, like VB, just to get the bug count down.  Ugh…   I don’t know what you’re going to be able to do Craig as the issues are bigger than what Roz did or did not do but I wish you luck!  

  56. Marco says:

    Best wishes on the new job!

  57. bryan says:

    congrats, but now that i have the chance to speak with you, i want to say something, please make MSN Messenger better, MSN Messenger 6 for mac its bad and its terrible for chatting with windows users, make it like windows live messengers please it will be great

  58. Michael says:

    Welcome – I always loved Mac Software from Microsoft..

    But I had to use it on other OS 😉

    I´m really excited whether Office 2008 will be the best Mac Office ever…

    Congrats and -Keep on going the good work!

    MM

  59. Kev says:

    WMP for OS X – I know it’s not part of the Mac BU but it should be.

    Make Exchange work PROPERLY on OS X.

  60. Hey… I like your intro on your personal blog… I also loved to watch bill and steve recently at D5… but you could see that both men had their angles and directions, sometimes both paths passed over each other and good things happened…

    How do you see the MacBU work within the MS Universe, you may love MACS but how does MS treat you guys when it comes in integration of ideas, or blending of platforms/technologies and their PC tech directions…

    Like all tech agendas how are you guys working to get the MS vision across to the mac… for example macs have isight cameras, and cameras in laptops etc… but we can really only use skype and ichat… to communicate with the outside world, most of the people I know use messenger on the PC and thats where the love ends… vision /camera wise…

    I would love the MS and Apple worlds to work together to get some sort of basic communication happening, where either, you can use isight cam tech with messenger to chat to others using your cam… or ichat to access the messenger network…

    A world where PC and Mac people can talk to one another, because at the moment this seems like a basic area which quite a few people would use but either companies are willing to give any ground on, in respect to their competing technologies and directions… maybe the MacBU could bridge those GAPS and make things happen… before people like skype take the market and MS and mac wondered what happened…

    I look forward to your future exploits etc within the MS world…

  61. Office 2004 User from Finland says:

    Congratulations!

    I’m looking forward for your next release of Office for Mac!

  62. Gary Eary says:

    Hello Craig and Congratulations,

    I look forward to many new and hopefully great things from MacBU under your direction, but I think the message is loud and clear about exactly what the business Mac comminuty wants and thats a more mature Entourage which supports Exchange fully (but not necessarily using MAPI) with a user choice about a synced mail store or a server-based one.

    When you, buy Exchange and 40 CALS for use with the Mac you have the right to expect a proper Exchange client. We’re still using Outlook 2001, but soon Apple and Intel will put a stop to that. Now as the biggest Mac developer outside of Apple and the producer of Exchange the premier Groupware solution its your job to make the two play nice.

    Good luck and best wishes.

    Gary.

  63. Bill Wilson says:

    Office 2008 for Mac…Just get this sucker moving!

    04 on rosetta is a joke

    The whole Mac WP/prod suite situation is appalling.

    There is really no substitute for Word or Excel.

    Please hurry

    Bill

  64. lmbass says:

    Hello Craig and welcome to MBU.

    I have been a Mac and Office user since 1988. I am one of the few Mac users in a sea of Windows users at the office. I would like to see more parity/compatibility between the Mac and Windows applications – others have mentioned the differences between Entourage vs Outlook. This concerns me, especially in light of the the "sharing/collaboration" coming from Microsoft. Although I can load SharePoint sites within FireFox, I get very frustrated at the many things I cannot do, like connect to client for offline work (this should work with Entourage), export to spreadsheets, etc. There are too many things that the collaboration solutions from Microsoft (such as Groove and Sharepoint) do that require Windows. If you want MS Office to continue to grow, then you need to address these issues. Thank you for listening.

    Bill

  65. John Lockwood says:

    Congratulations and welcome to Craig Eisler.

    Lets all hope this change in leadership will also result in more substantial changes in products issuing from the MacBU. I for one am heartily fed up of the MacBU boasting it is the ‘biggest team of Mac developers outside Apple’ and yet producing very few products, most of which are frankly currently of poor quality (including Office).

    Where is support in Word (and Word 2008) for right to left text?

    Where is support for VBA in Office 2008?

    Where is support for Video/Voice in Microsoft Messenger?

    etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

    With regards to comments about a new Windows Media Player for Mac, especially so as to increase the possibility of the BBC supporting Macs with iPlayer. I suspect that ultimately this will be done via SilverLight from Microsoft. This could be argued as being just as bad an idea as using Windows Media Player, since it will be just as infested with DRM and therefore unusable on Apple TV, or iPod, iPhone, or FrontRow.

    Microsoft should note that the Google colossus is switching YouTube to use H.264 which _is_ Apple TV, iPod, iPhone, and FrontRow friendly (ha, its even more friendly with Xbox360 than the BBC iPlayer which is based on WMP).

  66. Abbas says:

    I would love to see an updated UB version of Remote Desktop. I use it extensively and would love to use it on my Intel Mac at full speed.

    If it is part of Office 2008, then maybe you could release it before it? I dont think it will be overly complex as its a small app, right?

  67. MS Office Cross Platform Developer from Texas says:

    I think it is great that you are on board.  Welcome.

    I don’t think I am alone in being annoyed when Micro$oft constantly pounds the drum about it’s tour de force of Apple dedicated software developers and then cannot even deliver a VB compliant version of Office 2008.  What else has the team been working on for the last four years?  Porting solitaire???  

    Please, give us a break.  Give us true compatibility and we can create usable cross platform tools.

  68. BimmerDob says:

    Welcome, hope you can make an impact.

    For me and many other Mac user islands in a sea of XP/Vista users at work, Entourage compatibility with Outlook is a must if you want to keep me from Parallel and XP Office instead.

    Craig how will you check Steve B’s and  Bill’s (or anyone else using Outlook in MS) calendar to see when the 3 of you are open to meet?  Not from Entourage.  Get use to using Web client (ugh).  As others have said, parity with Outlook and Exchange is key for big business.  See no need to go to 2008 w/o it, we will be sticking w/ Office 2004 and will invest in Parallel and Outlook client instead if it is staus quo w/o movement towards Outlook/Exchange parity.

  69. Mike says:

    As someone who now works for the company that creates the most-used word processor…

    You should know that putting two spaces after a period is a hold-back from the days of typewriters where each letter had fixed spacing values.

    Modern day word processors (and fonts) have character-based spacing and putting two spaces after a period is not required (nor is it considered proper professional style).

    Bottom line – it makes you look pretty old school.  😉  

  70. Dustin says:

    If I could have one wish for Office 2008 build Entourage to fully support Exchange and function more like Outlook.

    Thanks

  71. Brian says:

    A long time ago, I worked with your brother at an internet shop (Sundial) in Thunder Bay. He was and likely still is a very talented programmer. I remember he always spoke highly of you and your achievements (I remember him showing me your name in one of the Windows ’95 easter-eggs). Anyway, it’s good to hear that you’re back at Microsoft and at the helm of the Mac BU. Good luck with the new job and I hope you and your team do great things for the Mac.

  72. Adam says:

    Sort out Media Player and the DRM modules for the Mac so we don’t get continually shafted with the wrong end of the ragman’s trumpet when we try to access media on line. Flip4Mac is a joke.

  73. George (Business User) says:

    As a very recent convert to the Mac from Windows, I am very concerned that Office 2008 fix several big shortcomings for business users that are present in Word 2004 that are not limitations in Word 2003 or Word 2007.  Specifically, working with Excel spreadsheets in Word 2004 documents is much more difficult than in office 2007.  You can’t easily work with them in the document as it pulls up Excel outside of the document.  In Word 2007, you just click on the excel doc and it opens up within the confines of the document and you can add rows, columns, etc. as you are looking at the document.

    Also, a very major limitation is that Word 2004 can only display 5 columns and 10 rows in a spreadsheet.  For a financial presentation in word this is far too small.  No such limitation exists in the windows versions.  I would greatly appreciate your consideration at fixing these shortcomings in the office 2008 version.

  74. Kenneth W. Collins says:

    Word 2007’s new user interface orphans all expert users. I have to continue using Word 2003 because I don’t have time to relearn the ABCs.

    Does Word 2008 orphan expert users also? If so, there are other word processors.

  75. telos says:

    The compatibility between Office for Mac and Office for Windows is a disgrace. People who shell out so much money for your software should not have to deal with pathetic “QuickTime and a TIFF decompressor are needed to see this picture” errors on Windows versions.

    Sort it out.

  76. David says:

    I can’t believe this general manager guy wrote such twaddle himself – it’s obviously from the hand of some naff PR person. Either that or he’s a typical irony-free American. Just try to be cool and bring us the software without the crap.

  77. Dave says:

    I’ll be looking forward to 2008 for my latest version.

  78. gottlieb says:

    i own 2 Macintosh computers your 2004 is no longer working  Apple  my friends have al deferend makes,everything they do works gsuckert@hotmai.com is free

  79. gottlieb says:

    my comments i sent are con good by