March 26, 1997 6:15 PM ET
Apple won't jump on Windows delay
By Sean Silverthorne

  Microsoft Corp.'s delay in getting the next version of its Windows operating system out the door is one of the few recent positives for Apple Computer Inc.

But Apple isn't planning on doing much to seize the initiative. Instead, the company will use the delay to further point out to Apple loyalists and potential Macintosh users that the next generations of the Macintosh operating system will be superior to anything coming out of Microsoft, according to spokesman Russell Brady.

"Our friends in Redmond give us a window of opportunity to demonstrate to our customers that the Mac OS is the best OS out there," Brady said.

The company has not decided if the Windows delay will change any of its marketing plans. But Brady said Apple will benefit because it will be sailing in "clear blue water" instead of the churn usually created by the incredible Microsoft marketing machine.

One thing Apple will not do is accelerate development of its next-generation operating system, code-named Rhapsody, to try to beat Windows to market, he said.

Microsoft executives have been quoted recently saying the next Windows operating system, code-named Memphis, is likely to be released to retail early next year, instead of previous plans to have it done for the Christmas selling season.

That clears the marketing air for Apple, which plans to deliver a major upgrade of its Macintosh Operating System 8.0 this summer.

Memphis could be released at about the same time as an early version of Rhapsody, the new Mac OS acquired in Apple's purchase of Next Software Inc. A full-featured version of Rhapsody is set to be delivered sometime later in 1988.

Microsoft's delay won't open the window much for Apple, one analyst argued.

"The bottom line is that the entire march toward NT and next-generation Windows is so strong that a delay will have no effect on Apple," said analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a market research firm in San Jose, Calif.

Apple is based in Cupertino, Calif. Microsoft is in Redmond, Wash.

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