Paul Thurrott: Microsoft Showed Practicality, Compassion for Mac at Apple’s Lowest Point

by Bharat Suneja

Paul Thurrott is one of the columnists and tech writers I enjoy reading every column and product review from. He is opinionated, criticizes Microsoft when it’s appropriate (and isn’t kind when he does it…), and gives credit to the company where credit is due.

In his latest WinInfo newsletter/column titled “Microsoft Showed Practicality, Compassion for Mac at Apple’s Lowest Point”, he talks about how Microsoft helped save a close-to-bankruptcy Apple back in 1997 by releasing Mac Office 97, and investing $150m in the company.

Of course, Mac fanatics and the Mac media will never agree with this account. Bill Gates pushing for an early release of Mac Office 97 when it made little business sense to do so, given the Mac’s meager and declining market-share at that time? That’s hardly sensational. Microsoft as the big bad software giant out to quash little Apple Computer and other would-be competitors – that sells more copies. :)

Thurrott’s column also has a link to a court document (PDF) containing the relevant email.

Makes for interesting reading – read the WinInfo column on

As a bonus, you can watch this (I highly recommend it… ) video clip on YouTube that shows the ever-so-charismatic Mr. Jobs talk about “a meaningful partnership” with Microsoft, at MacWorld Boston in 1997.

Did we really hear the MacWorld audience applaud when Jobs announced Microsoft promises to release Office for the Mac “for the next five years”? :)

Wait, did he also say IE is a really good browser too?

Jobs: Microsoft is buying $150 million of Apple stock.
Audience: Booooo..
Jobs: Non-voting shares.
Audience: [applause…. ]

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