Microsoft tries to steal Macworld thunder

Microsoft on Monday launched the first of several pre-emptive strikes against Apple Computer's Macworld trade show by making announcements about new technologies far ahead of their delivery to market.

In Microsoft's first salvo, the company revealed details about the next version of its digital media technology, code-named Corona, including that it officially will be known as Windows Media 9 Series. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is slated to launch the first public beta, or test, version of Windows Media at a Sept. 4 event. This and other digital media and consumer announcements, expected this week, are designed to steal thunder from Macworld, which starts Wednesday in New York. Last week, Microsoft said that later this year it will release a new line of 802.11b wireless networking products. Apple has been selling similar technology, called AirPort, for more than two years.

Microsoft apparently believes that it has delivered on the promises of the five-year agreement but that Apple has failed to do what is necessary to properly support its partners. Microsoft, for example, was instrumental in helping Apple resolve problems with Mac OS X (70 bug fixes contributed by the MacBU, and the MacBU unit taking the heat for a delay in shipping Office v. X when indeed the delay in bringing Office v. X to OS X was in bugs discovered by Microsoft in their new OS). That effort culminated in the September release of Mac OS X 10.1, soon followed by the release of Office v. X and many other important applications that run natively on the new operating system.

Microsoft's Mac commitment appears to be wavering, spurred in part by recent actions on the part of Apple. One such action, the inclusion of the iChat instant messenger program with Mac OS X 10.2 that connects to AOL's Instant Messenger network, caught Microsoft executives by surprise. And the Apple/Netscape home page deal, for which Microsoft "switched" the browsers default home page from Netscape's to Microsoft's own MSN home page, when they launched IE 5.2 for the Mac just recently!

Apple's Mac OS X 10.2, code-named Jaguar, has raised considerable concern in Redmond as well. Jaguar adds some new features "that have some people loosing sleep," said one source. "You don't know what kind of cultural paranoia we have here" about competitors.

News source: CNet News

View: Microsoft Press Release - Windows Media 9 Series announcement

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