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Microsoft and Apple: 25 years of couples therapy

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Bumps in the Road

Before the bundling of Office, however, Microsoft hit a major pothole with Word 3.0, which, upon its release in 1987, was notoriously buggy. After a few months, however, Microsoft mailed bug-squashing version 3.0.1 to all users who had registered Word 3.0.

Word, 5.0 was released in 1991, and its next iteration, 5.1, is still remembered fondly by many long-term Mac fans as the nimblest, most stable Mac version - especially when compared with the wretched Word 6.0 of 1993, for which Microsoft apologized to reviewers and journalists the following year.

Word 6.0 was not only a turgidly performing bug-fest, but also - even worse for Mac partisans during those Microsoft-bashing days - it was built from the Word for Windows code base, and carried with it telltale traces of that lineage.

Mac boosters viscerally rebelled from Word 6.0's Windows smell - and the stench they raised was thick, indeed. Long-time Mac watchers will remember that although Mac and PC fanbois continue to snipe at one another seemingly every chance they get, the Apple vs. Microsoft wars of today are tame compared with what they were like in the days of Word 6.0.

Much of the animosity that led to the entrenched position of the Apple side was the belief - bolstered by a lawsuit filed in March 1988 by Apple - that Microsoft had stolen the windows-based graphical user interface (GUI) concept from Apple. The intricacies of the arguments for and against Apple's position, and the legal wranglings of the case are topics for a different article, but suffice it to say that bad blood has boiled between Mac and PC devotees for many a year.

And during all those years Microsoft has continued to release productivity software for the Mac. And Mac users have continued to buy it.

In 1991, Microsoft released Office 1.5 for Mac, notable for Excel 3.0, which played nicely with Apple's new - and highly improved - System 7 operating system. Office 2.0 came along in 1992, with 4.0 appearing in 1993. (And, no, we're not forgetting Office 3.0 for Mac - there never was one.)

In 1997, Microsoft formed the still-extant Macintosh Business Unit, or MacBU, a small (today containing 200 "full-time Mac product experts," according to Microsoft) but Mac-loyal group that took over Microsoft's Mac-oriented software development and marketing.

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