Here's a big number: 20 percent of Microsoft Office's U.S retail sales are the Mac version, according to NPD. Here's another: Mac users account for 10 percent of retail Windows Vista Business and Ultimate sales. Those startling statistics are yet another sign of the Mac's resurgence and of the huge opportunity it creates for the largest Macintosh developer outside of Apple. Microsoft produced Mac versions of Excel and Word long before the products went to Windows. Apple's resurgence is an opportunity for Microsoft to recall those early glory days.
But should Microsoft want to? After all, Macs compete with Windows PCs. Does Microsoft really want to be in the business of supporting a competitor? "Twenty percent of all the versions of Microsoft Office sold at retail are the Mac version," said Chris Swenson, NPD's director of software industry analysis. "Office 2004 for the Mac is selling like hot cakes." Swenson quoted numbers for U.S. online and in-store retail.