Microsoft launches Office for Mac OS X

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Microsoft launches Office for Mac OS X

Microsoft has released a version of Office for Mac OS X v. 10.1, the latest in a number of moves by major software vendors to support Apple's flagship operating system.

Analysts have praised Mac OS X v.10.1 as a clean and quick-running upgrade to the Apple operating system. Furthermore, vendors of desktop and graphics applications from Adobe to Corel are embracing the operating system with alacrity.

"It is certainly the most exciting software introduction that Apple has made in a long time," said Roger Kay, an analyst with IDC.

Office v. X for Mac is considered by some to be the leading application available for Mac OS X v10.1. It won accolades from Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs, when it was previewed in September.

The Mac Office software takes advantage of the look and feel of Mac OS X v. 10.1. It works with the Windows version of Office, allowing users to exchange files easily between Windows and Mac systems.

The Canadian software maker, Corel, announced three applications for the new operating system: CorelDraw 10, Corel Photo-Paint 10 and KnockOut 2.

"Corel is recognising the need to publish to the true Mac creative professional," said Ian LeGrow, executive vice-president of creative products at Corel.

The growing relationship between Corel and Apple is notable because Corel has been without a close operating systems partner for the past few years, said IDC's Kay. Microsoft is one of Corel's biggest investors, having put $135m (£95m) behind the company more than a year ago, but Corel has found it hard to compete against Microsoft, leaving it with limited room for growth in the Windows market.

Adobe has already started shipping its Illustrator software for OS X, and is tuning Photoshop for release by the middle of 2002.

IBM has also made a version of ViaVoice, its speech-recognition software, available for the new Mac operating system.

"The momentum for OS X with developers is really starting to accelerate," said Ron Okamoto, vice-president of worldwide developer relations at Apple.

Besides the new desktop applications for Mac OS X 10.1, Apple is also seeing interest among Java and Unix developers, thanks to its built-in Java Virtual Machine. Mac OS X also uses core pieces of the Berkeley Software Distribution version of Unix, opening up new opportunities for porting Unix applications to the Mac.

"There's a lot of folks out there who can now look at OS X and start to think about building their Unix applications for the operating system," Okamoto said.

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