Microsoft becomes unlikely Apple ally

Microsoft is devoting time, money, and resources to make sure that the market share held by Apple's competing MacOS will not dwindle to non-existence.

Microsoft is devoting time, money, and resources to make sure that the market share held by Apple's competing MacOS will not dwindle to non-existence.

According to an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has established a San Jose, California-based division that will eventually employ about 60 people to help developers write Internet-related applications for the Macintosh platform.

Headed by Don Bradford, who hails from Macintosh application publishers Aldus and Claris, this group's mission is to help Mac developers in a range of ways, including the possibility of offering cash grants of up to US$100,000, the article said.

The move, an odd one coming from Microsoft, which battled with Apple for market share in the personal computer operating system market -- and won -- appears to have at least two motivations, according to the Journal.

First, Microsoft is the leading seller of Mac-based applications and would lose this market if Apple's share sank below its current 6% into insignificance. Second, Microsoft is concerned that if the MacOS no longer competes with Windows, Microsoft will once again fall under the close scrutiny of the Justice Department, the article said.

The Justice Department's on-going investigation of Microsoft's competitive practices could heat up considerably if Microsoft had one less competitor in the PC operating system market.

Microsoft's Bradford, who mentioned the Justice Department threat in the article, also said that part of his group's mission is to bring innovative Macintosh technology to the Windows operating system.

Microsoft is at http://www.microsoft.com/.

Apple is at http://www.apple.com/.

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