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Microsoft Lends A Helping Hand To Apple?


While attending most any Apple Inc.event and you will hear a slam against Microsoft Corp. , Bill Gates, or Windows operating systems - usually to wild applause from the audience. Srange to learn, Microsoft for the past year carried out a program to encourage small software developers to create Internet applications for Apple's Macintosh computers.

Just down the freeway from Apple's Cupertino, California headquarters, Microsoft established an office in San Jose, with plans for as many as 60 employees. One source says the program could cost Microsoft millions of dollars.

The Microsoft group surfaced at MACWORLD last week, where developers were told of possible $100,000 grants. Further behind the scenes, this same group was influential in the start of the Macintosh Internet Developers Association.

Often considered archetypal enemies, Microsoft and Apple working together to support development of Microsoft applications should not seem at all difficult to understand. One analyst told Newsbytes, "Apple no longer poses any real threat to Microsoft. If there is a major opponent to Microsoft, it has to be Netscape as the battle for Internet standards continues to grow."

According to industry observers, Microsoft's Apple developer support program stands to benefit Microsoft in two ways: first, it makes Microsoft look good in any antitrust cases; secondly, having some Apple support as the Netscape/Microsoft battle grows can only benefit Microsoft.

It now appears Microsoft needs and wants Apple to stay in business. But rumors circulating around Apple indicate not everyone is pleased with "Sleeping With the Enemy," but a better relationship with Microsoft is reportedly high on Apple CEO Gilbert Amelio's list of objectives.

The Microsoft group is headed by Don Bradford, previously with Aldus Corp. and Claris Corp.

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