Bump on Apple's future

Robert on Apple's transformation to a software company

"The common sense approach yields the idea that, with the addition of a Word replacement and an Excel replacement, Apple would have all of the Office bases covered. Apple would then be able to compete head to head without the fear of reprisal from the Pacific NorthWest. I've been thinking about this, and about some of the other things that Apple has done over the last couple of years, and I've come to the conclusion that it is quite possible that Apple is thinking bigger than most people are suspecting. "

I think Robert's right. Ever since the news a couple years ago that Apple was going to start making "killer apps", this has been underway. And make killer apps they have. First iTunes and iMovie, then iPhoto and iDVD. Then came iChat (less killer but still good), iCal and iSync, and now iLife and Keynote. Not to mention Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, and their acquisitions of Emagic and Shake.

Open Source is a huge piece of their strategy. I still believe they're making an Intel version of Mac OS X. But aside from pure speculation, there's a little bit more fuel to suggest Apple is going to try to cover Microsoft's bases in the Mac world. Last week I got an email from Apple's publicsource announcement list (user: archives, pass: archives), announcing WebCore, X11 for Mac OS X, and.... OpenOffice? Huh?

"OpenOffice 1.0 (X11) is Final Beta for Mac OS X

OpenOffice.org and the OpenOffice.org Mac OS X/Darwin porting team
announces the release of OpenOffice.org 1.0 X11 for Mac OS X and Darwin
(Final Beta). While this release is not final and is intended to
solicit public feedback, bug reports, and to attract developers to the
project, it is feature-complete for our first X11 (Final) release. The
main focus will be on fixing bugs in the Final Beta to allow for a full
Final release in Spring 2003."

Note that there is also a native Aqua version of OpenOffice in the works. Perhaps Ron Dumont is just being nice and linking to the OpenOffice effort to share Apple's flow, but... isn't it just as likely that they're not only cheering them on but also assisting? Could Apple's Office suite be OpenOffice?

They've used open source to give them quantum leaps advantages in time to market, most recently with Safari, but there are lots of other examples, such as CUPS for printing. OpenOffice is gaining a good reputation now, and if you look at what they did with KHTML to make Safari, it's hardly a stretch to think what they could produce with OpenOffice.

Written on January 14, 2003